Canada mounts UN anti-nuke effort
Canada plans to kick-start a long-stalled international effort aimed at ridding the world of the key ingredients needed for nuclear weapons, The Canadian Press has learned.
The renewed push this week by Canada’s United Nations ambassador to Geneva to spearhead the creation of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty or FMCT, comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to attend U.S. President Barack Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit.
Trudeau’s presence at the Obama summit, March 31 and April 1, would come just three weeks after his scheduled March 10 gala state dinner at the White House.
Canada’s renewed focus on nuclear non-proliferation efforts has been in the works for months, but the effort has new urgency because of North Korea’s recent claim to have conducted a test of a hydrogen bomb.
“I think it sent a chill through the world community and reinvigorates this discussion and this debate,” Rosemary McCarney, Canada’s permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, told The Canadian Press.
McCarney said she’ll be starting the first of a series of meetings this week at the Conference on Disarmament, the UN’s main arms-control body, with the aim of re-starting negotiations this year towards creating the fissile material treaty.
McCarney may have her work cut out for her, because Trudeau’s own briefing book says the UN effort towards crafting such a treaty dates back almost six decades and has been beset by “deadlock.”
“An FMCT has been on the UN’s agenda since 1957,” says the memo to the prime minister, which was obtained under the Access to Information Act.
In 1995, Canada brokered an agreement on a negotiating mandate for the treaty, but in the intervening years, the effort stalled. “Since 2008, Pakistan has blocked work on an FMCT,” the memo states. But Canada has also worked with Germany, the Netherlands and Australia to make progress.