At the moment a complicated situation is emerging in the nuclear non-proliferation sphere. The NPT Review conference held in 2005 almost failed – the participants could not reach agreement and no substantive document was adopted. And though no one claimed that the Treaty had exhausted itself it does not solve all the tasks which it was created for. More and more states doubt the effectiveness of the NPT and their own security. At the moment the situation with Iran develops in such a way that the possibility of its withdrawal from the NPT is not ruled out. Under the conditions when the US leadership discusses the possibility of military solution of the Iranian issue Iran has progressively less reasons to keep its non-nuclear status. Other states may also choose moving away from the Treaty and eventually withdrawing from it.
Non-nuclear states are “disappointed” with the situation with nuclear disarmament which either does not exist or it is carried out too slowly; nuclear states do not carry on negotiations on nuclear disarmament as required by Article IV of the NPT.
The latest Preparation Committee for the NPT Review Conference in Geneva in May 2008 showed that non-nuclear states are irritated at the fact that in their view they had ultimately received very little in return for their consent to the indefinite prolongation of the Treaty in 1995.
In their statements they stress that in the military doctrines of nuclear states the role of nuclear weapons is still very high. Russia reserves for itself the right to use nuclear weapons responding to the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against itself or its allies as well as to a large-scale aggression with the use of conventional weapons in the situations critical for Russian national security. France is ready to use nuclear weapons to defend its vitally important interests. The UK can use nuclear weapons in response to chemical or biological attack against itself. The USA are ready to use nuclear weapons in case of any WMD attack as well as the threat of such attack – the possibility of pre-emptive strike with the use of nuclear weapons is foreseen.
In such circumstances the problem of negative security assurances gains new relevance as one of the ways of strengthening the NPT and the whole nuclear non-proliferation regime. One can hardly deny that the confidence of a state in the no use of nuclear weapons against itself increases the sense of its own security and reduces the need for developing or acquiring nuclear weapons. In this concern it is necessary to find such conditions of granting negative security assurances which could suit both nuclear and non-nuclear states whose positions significantly diverge at the moment.
Today these problems are being discussed both within the framework of the NPT review process and the Conference on Disarmament as well as the UN General Assembly`s First committee. Non-nuclear states still insist on granting them universal, unconditional and legally binding security assurances, the nuclear ones mainly think that the provided assurances are already quite enough.