clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

FRANCE WILL UNVEIL DISARMAMENT PLAN

France's "global disarmament" plan to be unveiled next week is expected to include French readiness to adhere to the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as well as proposals for worldwide reductions of all kinds of arms, Le Monde newspaper said Saturday.

Up to now France and China had been the only countries that officially have nuclear weapons and do not adhere to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.President Francois Mitterrand originally announced the French plan for "global disarmament" Thursday during a Franco-German summit at Lille. Details were to be given to U.N. Security Council permanent members Thursday. But official sources said Saturday the specifics of the plan would not be disclosed publicly until later this week.

Mitterrand already had delayed making public the French plan so as to await President Bush's own plan announced Wednesday for disarmament in the Middle East, Le Monde said.

French officials sent copies of the five- to six-page French plan to Washington, London, Moscow and Beijing Thursday, Le Monde said.

The delay of publication until next week was to try and contact as many Third World countries' governments as possible to notify them in advance of the plan so as not to make them think they were being discriminated against by the great powers, according to Le Monde's front-page story.

"The countries of the South have as much interest as those of the North in the reduction of arms," Le Monde quoted presidential aides as saying. "Our approach is as respectful to one as to the other and one must avoid misunderstandings.

"The question is sufficiently complex without complicating it uselessly."

Some French officials considered the Bush proposals as too limited because they concern the Middle East only, said Le Monde.

One French official characterized the Bush proposals as "freezing the situation in the Middle East, leaving a slight superiority to Israel while placing the Arab countries under control."

The French plan takes into account not only weapons of mass destruction (nuclear and chemical) and the means for transporting them (ballistic missiles with range of more than 100 miles), but also conventional arms, Le Monde said.

French officials characterize the plan as complementary to the Bush proposals. "It is not competing with the American plan, but it is not identical to it," said one.

The biggest surprise in the plan is expected to be French willingness to adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. France has refused to adhere to the treaty in the past out of a spirit of national independence though Paris insists it has respected the spirit of the treaty for several years.

In 1989 France attended as an observer at a meeting of member nations who had signed the treaty.

France is likely to try and persuade China to sign the treaty as well as Paris, Le Monde said.