Arrange a visit
New acquisitions
Reference documents
Mailing list
Short News
 GRIP shop

 GRIP Blogs

 • lisbon-treaty.grip.org
 Internal documents
 Restricted access

Russia gives its support to an African continent without nuclear weapons
On August 30th 2010, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev submitted two protocols attached to the Treaty of Pelindaba to the Duma for ratification. Through this treaty, Africa has been, in theory, a nuclear weapon free zone (NWFZ) since last year; joining four other NWFZ in the world (South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean). The protocols ban the use or the threat to use a nuclear weapon against the States parties to the treaty and any test of a nuclear explosive device on this continent by the five nuclear States (China, France, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom). Both protocols were signed by these nuclear States in 1996 but the United States and Russia did not ratify them. For 15 years, the main obstacle for the American and Russian ratifications have been the status of a coral atoll called Diego Garcia. This territory, a British possession, is claimed by Mauritius as a part of its sovereignty. When the UK ratified the protocols in 2001, it joined a request stating that it does not recognize this territory as a part of the Treaty of Pelindaba. Diego Garcia represents above all a crucial strategic interest as it hosts a US military complex used in combat missions in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. According to an article from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published on October 8th 2009, US nuclear submarines occasionally station in this lagoon.
Therefore, why did the Russian Federation suddenly decide to ratify these two protocols? One of the answers can be found in the decision of the Obama Administration in May 2010. The United States declared that they will seek the US Senate consent to ratify these protocols. So the Russian decision seems to be a mimetic step to the American one, in order not to be isolated. Nevertheless, there is no indication that the United States will apply the negative security guarantees to the island of Diego Garcia after they ratified the protocols. On the contrary, Russia could include a reservation to its ratification. Africa cannot be considered as a true nuclear weapons free zone as long as Diego Garcia is not a NWFZ itself.
 Latest updates
 Website map
 Contact | Access
Update: 02/09/2010

Mailing list | Latest updates | Website map | Search | Shop | Contact | Access to GRIP | RSS
Envoyer page Edition