The Conference on Disarmament in 2011: Pakistan and the FMCT, and Wikileaks

The United Nations Conference on Disarmament (CD) will begin its first session for 2011 on 24 January. High on the agenda in Geneva will be the effort to agree on a program of work for the year that includes the start of talks on a verifiable treaty to end the production of fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons (a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, or FM(C)T).

The CD agreed on such a program of work in 2009 but talks failed to start, in large part because of obstruction by Pakistan. Pakistan prevented agreement even on a program of work in 2010. In October 2010, Pakistan was the only one of the over 160 members of the United Nations General Assembly's First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) to vote against resolutions calling for early negotiations at the CD on an FM(C)T.

The evolution and politics of Pakistan's position on an FM(C)T is discussed in "Playing the Nuclear Game: Pakistan and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty" (reproduced here with permission from Arms Control Today, April 2010)

A November 2009 cable from the US embassy in Islamabad made available by Wikileaks reported on the internal FM(C)T debate in Pakistan and is available at The Guardian web site.