TEXT:*92120805.NEA 12/8/vertic/greene/npt/lessons of iraq/bg sa kf
*NEA205   12/08/92 *

(Owen Greene reviews "Lessons of Iraq" 12/8/92)  (680)
By Berta Gomez
USIA Staff Writer
Washington -- The period between now and 1995 is likely to be a "turning
point" for the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), according to an
expert who believes that the current inspection regimes must be reformed --
both to improve their effectiveness and to restore public confidence in the
The changes recommended by Owen Greene, a member of the London-based
Verification Technology Information Center (VERTIC), revolve around the
strengthening of existing verification structures.

In particular, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should be
bolstered by stronger export controls, closer ties to the United Nations
Security Council, and better communication with national intelligence
agencies, Greene said at a December 8 press briefing to discuss the
findings of a new report he wrote for VERTIC.

Greene said that in purely political terms, the NPT has been "enormously
strengthened" since 1990.  France, China and South Africa became parties to
the treaty; Argentina and Brazil accepted "full-scope" compliance with its
safeguards.   Moreover, the fact that all five permanent members of the
U.N. Security Council are NPT members could herald a new era of cooperation
on various non-proliferation issues.

But Greene also warned that dangers abound: instability in the former Soviet
Union could lead to new nuclear weapon states, as well as the "incomplete"
denuclearization of Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Brazil and South Africa might
retain elements of a nuclear weapons "infrastructure," rendering them

In the VERTIC report, Greene noted that "the absence of India, Pakistan and
Israel from the regime, linked with the regional tensions in the Middle
East and South Asia, continues to threaten its long-term survival."

Continuing tensions in Central Asia or the North Asia-Pacific region could
be similarly conducive to nuclear proliferation, the report indicated.
"Perhaps most worrying of all is the continuing ambiguity of Ukrainian
policy towards nuclear weapons, in which the possibility of confrontation
with Russia and the lifetime habits of its ex-Soviet governing elite are
probably key factors."

Greene also pointed out that the post-Gulf War revelation of Iraq's
extensive nuclear weapons program highlighted the limitations of the
current NPT verification system and "rocked confidence" in the regime.

(Iraq ratified the NPT in 1969, and as late as 1990 was publicly listed by
the IAEA as a compliant member.)

Although it was believed that national intelligence agencies would alert the
U.N. or the IAEA to treaty violations, Greene noted that British (and other
national) intelligence agencies were aware of Iraq's nuclear program but
chose to downplay its significance for reasons of foreign policy and trade.

Having reviewed the problems of the current system, Greene argued that it
would be unwise -- and politically unworkable -- to dismantle it entirely
and begin anew.  It would be preferable, he said, to keep the IAEA "at the
center" of the verification system, as long as certain "radical" reforms
were adopted.

They included:
-- "Improved transparency" and a "universal system" of reporting imports,
exports and production of all nuclear materials and "sensitive" non-nuclear
materials and equipment.

-- An increased capacity for frequent inspections at declared nuclear
facilities, "particularly in states with relatively small nuclear programs
where...a significant quantity of fissile material might be divided between
two or more sites."

-- An increased capacity for "special inspections" of undeclared sites.  The
inspections would have to become less predictable, and cover a wider
spectrum of facilities.
-- Closing "loopholes" that allow states to withdraw fissile materials from
safeguards under certain conditions.

-- Phasing out civil stocks of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium.
-- Linking the IAEA to the international intelligence community.
Greene stressed that enhanced verification procedures would be universally
reassuring.  If Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan agree to the NPT, for
example, the strengthened regime can serve to reassure their neighbors and
their citizens -- as well as the United States -- of their intentions.