High Representative Kane describes possible WMD control futures

United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane spoke about the future of weapons of mass destruction disarmament on Monday at a NATO conference in Interlaken, Switzerland.

The NATO Conference on WMD Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation was the tenth of its kind. Kane praised the annual event for addressing the issue of disarmament, as well as WMD terrorism, while acknowledging the difficult road ahead.

"It is of course unfortunate that progress in these areas has proven to be so difficult over the years, especially given the many political, strategic, and economic benefits that would flow from real advances in these fields," Kane said.

Kane said achievements in bilateral nuclear arms control over the past ten years were modest at best, citing agreements that do not require the destruction of bombs or warheads and arsenal reductions with little verification or oversight.

In the field of disarmament, Kane noted the modernization of nuclear weapons and said it was the greatest political threat to non-proliferation.

Kane spoke about three potential futures for WMD control. One envisioned a sustained commitment to eliminate all nuclear weapons worldwide to avoid their use. Another possible future would be to treat nuclear weapons separately from chemical and biological arms.

The third path forward, Kane said, would be to adopt a policy that would reduce both WMDs and conventional arms.