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INDEPENDENT QUAKER JOURNALISM SINCE 1843
CONTENTS – VOL 168 NO 24 3 Nuclear conference reaches agreement Joe Thwaites 4 The Peace Testimony today 5 Sex and the Spirit Roger Clarke and Helen Fraser 6 Quaker etiquette: a rough guide Siobhan Haire 7 An opinion from Screwtape via Rosemary Hartill 8-9 Letters 10-11 Workplace bullying – a hidden injustice Heather White 12-13 The Pump Peter Daniels 14 Hurt feelings: a corporate witness Junior Young People’s programme: 12- to 15-year-olds 16 q-eye: witness 17 Friends & Meetings
Cover image: Pump at Bridport Meeting. Photo: Margie Savory. See pages 12-13. Images on this page: A special Meeting for Worship to lay down and celebrate the work of Quaker House, Belfast, was held at Frederick Street Meeting House on Saturday 5 June. People associated with the project came from all over Britain and Ireland to worship and to share memories. Photos: Rob Fairmichael.
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the Friend, 11 June 2010 Libran N. Cabactulan, ambassador of the Philippines (centre), president of the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, chairs the closing session. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine
Nuclear conference reaches agreement
A month-long United Nations conference to review progress on disarmament and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons ended with agreement to move forward in a number of areas.
A breakthrough came when states agreed to convene a conference in 2012 aimed at achieving a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, to be attended by all states in the region.
Arab states and the NonAligned Movement of more than 100 countries, led by Egypt, had made it clear that progress on this issue was essential for a successful conference. It will put pressure on Israel over its widely suspected, though not officially confirmed, nuclear arsenal.
The agreement, reached at last month’s Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT RevCon) was silent on Western concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme, but it did urge all states to fully comply with the Treaty, which includes a commitment by non-nuclear weapon states not to receive, acquire or manufacture nuclear weapons.
In the area of disarmament, the five officially recognised nuclear weapons states – Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States – agreed ‘to undertake further efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate all types of nuclear weapons,’ but they succeeded in removing references to a timetable for doing this.
The outcome document also included calls to ratify the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty banning all nuclear explosions, and to begin negotiating a treaty to ban the production of the fissile material used in nuclear weapons.
Negotiations continued right into the final hours of the conference, which ended on 28 May.
After the last meeting in 2005 collapsed without any substantive agreements, the ability of the 189 state parties to the Treaty to reach consensus on a compromise 28page outcome document meant that this year’s conference was widely seen as a success.
United States under-secretary of state Ellen Tauscher said the plan ‘advances president Obama’s vision’ of a world without nuclear weapons. However, she expressed regret that the text singled out Israel in the section dealing with the Middle East, and suggested that the 2012 conference ‘has been seriously jeopardised’ because of this.
Israel confirmed these fears the next day, releasing a statement saying that it would not participate in the proposed conference, declaring that ‘given the distorted nature of this resolution, Israel will not be able to take part in its implementation.’
John Duncan, the UK’s disarmament ambassador, nonetheless welcomed the outcome of negotiations. ‘Some commentators complained about a supposed “lowest common denominator agreement” or that the main success was the absence of failure. This is to rather miss the point,’ he said, writing in his blog on the Foreign Office website. ‘The NPT RevCon is not an end in itself… the real importance lies in the process of engagement that follows.’
Quaker UN Office, New York the Friend, 11 June 2010