Representatives from 42 countries met at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC, from July 2-3 to deliberate on ways to address challenges in the security environment that would improve prospects for disarmament negotiations. The CEND Working Group (CEWG) kick-off plenary meeting marked the first official gathering of participants in the CEND initiative.
The 97 CEWG participants sought to identify ways to improve the international security environment in order to overcome obstacles to further progress on nuclear disarmament. Non-governmental expert facilitators from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, King’s College London, and the Clingendael Institute guided breakout sessions focusing on three themes:
- Reducing perceived incentives for states to retain, acquire, or increase their holdings of nuclear weapons;
- Multilateral and other types of institutions and processes to bolster nonproliferation efforts and build confidence in, and further advance, nuclear disarmament; and
- Interim measures to address risks associated with nuclear weapons and to reduce the likelihood of war among nuclear-armed states.
The format of these discussions was purposely informal – designed to go beyond the prepared statements typical in other multilateral disarmament forums and to produce more in-depth and interactive exchanges.
Through their constructive engagement in this forum, participants laid the foundations for further CEND dialogues that will explore the themes identified during these exchanges.
As Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Christopher A. Ford has said, “[W]e hope that the international community is now finally at a point where it can start asking itself the right questions, and we look forward to working with our international partners…to devise a constructive approach.”
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