Middle Powers Initiative


The Middle Powers Initiative (MPI) marked its first anniversary this March. In line with its primary role of working with -- and attempting to influence - "middle-power" nations in the pursuit of nuclear disarmament, MPI's priority has become to help mobilize civil society and governments in support of the New Agenda Coalition (NAC), the seven-nation initiative working to promote a practical and effective nuclear disarmament agenda (see Bombs Away! (hardcopy), Fall 1998).
MPI is currently pursuing four priorities:

  1. Strengthening NAC's UN General Assembly Resolution: The NAC introduced a resolution in the 1998 General Assembly incorporating its agenda. The resolution was adopted 114 to 18 with 38 abstentions. Four of the five traditional nuclear weapon states voted no (China abstained), as did India, Israel and Pakistan; many US allies abstained. In other words, the usual North-South divisions did not appear, thus demonstrating the appeal and validity of the NAC's proposals. MPI sent delegations to capitals of key NATO and other US-allied to encourage nations under pressure from the NATO nuclear states to stand their ground. MPI continues to work to broaden and deepen support for the NAC resolution, which will be re-introduced in the 1999 General Assembly.
  2. Campaigning for changes in NATO nuclear strategy: The vote on the NAC resolution in the General Assembly showed a deepening split in the NATO alliance over the role of nuclear weapons. While the three nuclear weapon members of NATO voted against the resolution, all non-nuclear states except Turkey abstained. However, the illegal and immoral affirmation of first use and deterrence remains. MPI is working, especially in the non-nuclear NATO states, to bring NATO strategy in line with the states' obligations under Article VI of the NPT.
  3. Ensuring the survival of the Non-Proliferation Treaty: The May preparatory committee for the 2000 NPT Review Conference demonstrated once again the wide rift between most of the nuclear weapon states and the vast majority of non-nuclear countries over what needs to be done to fulfill the Treaty's obligations for non-proliferation and disarmament. MPI considers it vital that the NPT survives beyond the Conference as an instrument for genuine nuclear disarmament. It is therefore working with other NGOs to support NAC's efforts towards this objective.
  4. Facilitating Strategy Consultations: MPI is developing a role in organizing and facilitating consultations between citizen organizations and governments. In February, it co-convened with the Fourth  Freedom Forum a strategy consultation in New York that brought together officials from NAC countries plus several other governments and 37 NGO representatives to develop strategies to promote steps to strengthen the non-proliferation regime in the run-up to the 2000 NPT Conference.

MPI is a coalition of eight international NGOs, including IALANA, LCNP's parent. MPI is chaired by Senator Douglas Roche, the former Canadian ambassador for disarmament, and has offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and New York. A second, updated edition of its briefing book,
Fast Track to Zero Nuclear Weapons , will be published soon. For further information, see MPI's  website: www.middlepowers.org



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