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Alatas, Perry to Join Nuclear Panel

  • AUTHORJonathan Pearlman, The Sydney Morning Herald
  • Sep 25, 2008

Alatas, Perry to join nuclear panel


Jonathan Pearlman Foreign Affairs Correspondent

September 25, 2008


THE former United States defence secretary, William Perry, and the former Indonesian foreign minister, Ali Alatas, are among the high-profile statesmen and diplomats to have been recruited by Gareth Evans as members of the Rudd Government's nuclear commission.

The Herald understands that the two former diplomats will be on the 15-member international commission, which is due to be announced later today in New York. The organisation - named the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament - is being co-chaired by Mr Evans, a former Australian foreign minister, and Yoriko Kawaguchi, a former Japanese foreign minister.

The Government has been trying to arrange for the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, Mr Evans and Ms Kawaguchi to announce the make up of the commission ,along with the other members and the new Japanese Prime Minister, Taro Aso, who was elected yesterday and is due to make a very short visit to New York.

Mr Perry, who was defence secretary from 1994 to 1997 under president Bill Clinton, was one of four former US diplomats and politicians - along with George Shultz, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn - to call last year and this year in The Wall Street Journal for "a world free of nuclear weapons". Mr Perry's co-authors are expected to provide informal assistance to the commission.

Mr Evans has spent several months seeking members of the commission, which was announced by Mr Rudd at Hiroshima and will seek ways to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and technology, to reduce existing stockpiles and improve safeguards. Other commissioners are believed to include the former Norwegian prime minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland, and a former British MP, Baroness Shirley Williams, who advises Britain's Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, on non-proliferation.

Mr Alatas, a veteran Indonesian diplomat, was foreign minister from 1988 to 1999 and has been a vocal critic of the nuclear states for demanding non-proliferation while refusing to disarm.

The commission will include representatives from each of the five official nuclear powers - the US, Russia, Britain, France and China - as well as two states - India and Pakistan - that have nuclear weapons outside the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Australia is expected to pay for the commission and will cover the cost of meetings of the commissioners in Japan and Australia. Its immediate aim will be to address the failure of existing rules, sanctions and treaties to limit the spread of nuclear weapons and to develop recommendations to feed into a review of the non-proliferation treaty in 2010.


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