Progress in Istanbul?
While the recent technical talks between P5+1 and Iran in Istanbul did not lead to a breakthrough on the nuclear standoff, the EU has confirmed the plans to resume political talks in Almaty in April. The talks focused on the details of the P5+1 proposal that includes modest sanctions relief in exchange for Iran’s halting 20 percent uranium enrichment.
From Russia With Good News
News from Geneva appears promising, as both Acting Undersecretary of State Rose Gottemoeller and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov both report progress in their recent nuclear talks. The talks focused on cooperation between Russia and the United States on nonproliferation and come shortly after the announcement that the last phase of the European missile shield would be canceled, a move that may have paved the way for progress on other issues.
India and Pakistan
The United States supports Indian entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group, a nuclear export control group. While supported by many, several European countries argue that India should not be allowed entry, as it would be the only member not also part of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. China has not been supportive either, citing the need for equal treatment in South Asia, referencing the other South Asian nuclear power, Pakistan.
How Much Change?
Experts say prospects for reforming Pakistan’s nuclear policy are uncertain, despite the Pakistan’s recent emphasis on increased international cooperation and the opportunity for policy changes presented by upcoming national elections.
South Korea and the United States signed a mutual defense treaty designed to respond to various North Korean provocations. The treaty formalizes joint US-South Korean actions to be taken in case of North Korean hostilities. The signing comes after weeks of posturing by North Korea as a response to the strengthened international sanctions intended to curb North Korea’s nuclear program.
China is making efforts to enforce the stricter UN sanctions imposed on North Korea. Although traditionally unwilling to do so, China faces increasing pressure to exert its unique influence on North Korea.