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Dr William Potter started his presentation by outlining several of the more positive – yet in his opinion often neglected – features of the NPT. Mr Potter pointed out that the NPT is the treaty with the broadest membership in the world. Although there are four notable exceptions (including the DPRK), almost the entire international community has voluntarily chosen to ratify the treaty. Mr Potter also argued that despite fatalistic forecasts about proliferation cascades, the pace of proliferation remains much less than anticipated. Mr Potter also considered as ‘good news’ the increasing number of countries who have signed the Additional Protocol – an agreement which gives the IAEA more freedom to carry out controls in the member state. The new political leadership in the United States was also considered as a positive development as it carved out greater political space for progress on nuclear disarmament. Mr Potter then went on to outline several negative developments relating to the NPT. These included the increasingly uncompromising positions on the part of some NWS as well as NNWS. Another turn for the worse was the apparent disappearance of a group of like-minded states who previously had served as a vital bridge between many of the NWS and NNWS on disarmament and non-proliferation issues. Sharp divisions between member states contributed to the crumbling of this consensus. Mr Potter also cautioned of the rising prospects for non-state actors to enter into the equation as suppliers, middle-men and end-users of nuclear material. He stressed that it was crucial for the United States, its Allies, and Russia to take the lead in minimising the use of highly enriched uranium in the civilian nuclear sector and called for stricter punishment for crimes relating to lax nuclear security. Mr Potter also looked critically upon the recent US-Indian nuclear deal which he said has weakened the NPT. In terms of recommendations for the future, Mr Potter stressed the importance of revitalising US-Russian and NATO-Russian cooperation. Although recognizing that it was not a substitute for high-level US-Russian proliferation consultations, Potter suggested a greater use of the NATORussia Council to pursue coordinated action on non-proliferation policy and to counter nuclear terrorism. Another recommendation urged NATO to reassess its continued deployment of substrategic nuclear weapons in Europe. Mr Potter went on to call for greater collaboration in the safeguarding of sensitive fuel cycle technologies through the promotion of regional nuclear fuel centers, such as the Angarsk facility. Increased sharing of intelligence relating to illicit nuclear trafficking was also recommended. In conclusion, Mr Potter spoke of the need to bridge an apparent knowledge deficit regarding non-proliferation issues.

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Potter, William C.

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