Members of the Socialist International Committee on Disarmament convened at the United Nations in New York on 17 November 2009, to discuss two themes which are central to the SI's agenda today: `Strengthening the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Nuclear Disarmament' and `Missile Defence and new Arms Control'.
At the opening of the meeting, SI Secretary General Luis Ayala recalled the long tradition and contribution of the Socialist International to Peace and Disarmament, saying today it was once again high on our agenda. He was proud of the excellent contribution of this Committee to the last Council meeting in Budva and looked forward to that work continuing, particularly with reference to the forthcoming 2010 NPT conference.
The chair of the Committee, Rolf Mützenich (SPD, Germany), then stressed that the issues relating to disarmament needed social democratic answers and his party, under the new leadership of Sigmar Gabriel was ready to make progress on these issues. He recalled the 10 key points agreed at the previous meeting which were endorsed by the Council, and stressed the need to discuss the issue of arms control and missile defence, making reference to the position of Russia on this issue.
The Committee's discussions further benefited from introductions to the themes by Marc Saxer, a specialist on arms control and disarmament from the FES, and by Rhianna Kreger from the Global Security Institute based in NY.
During the debates on the broad security agenda, participants highlighted many diverse issues to include in the discussions, such as human security, which must form part of a socialist position, encouraging the middle powers initiative, the role of parliamentarians in different national and international fora, adopting a `holistic' approach to the NPT and pressing for the upholding of previous commitments, the addressing of the problem of nuclear materials trafficking, or the undefined issue of `next generation' cyber weapons such. It was noted that there were currently many positive signals internationally which must be supported and promoted and participants also stressed the need for a greater European involvement in this.
The Committee discussed and agreed on a draft declaration for the upcoming SI Council meeting in Santo Domingo, under the Council agenda item `Working for a world free of nuclear weapons and for arms control'.
In terms of future activities, it was agreed that prior to the first SI Council of next year, the Committee would convene in Africa, in April or early May 2010, with the main theme of light arms and small weapons.