Magazine article UN Chronicle

Non-Proliferation Treaty Deemed "Essential" to International Peace and Security, Continued Support for Objectives Expressed

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Non-Proliferation Treaty Deemed "Essential" to International Peace and Security, Continued Support for Objectives Expressed

Article excerpt

Non-Proliferation Treaty deemed "essential' to international peace and security, continued support for objectives expressed

The Third Review Conference of Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)--in its Final Declaration adopted on 21 September--stated that the Treaty is essential to international peace and security and expressed its continued support for the Treaty's objectives.

Nuclear-weapon States were called on to resume talks in 1985 aimed at the negotiation of a comprehensive multilateral nuclear test-ban treaty.

The Conference declared it was determined to "enhance the Treaty and to further strengthen its authority'. In examining the nuclear arms race, many conferees expressed concern that the nuclear-weapon States continued to augment the destructive power of their arsenals.

During the four-week meeting held in Geneva (27 August-21 September), the Conference established three Main Committees to review implementation of the Treaty, which entered into force on 5 March 1970. On 12 June 1968, the General Assembly commended the Treaty and requested the three Depository Governments (USSR, United Kingdom, United States) to open it for signature and ratification.

Main Committee I examined provisions relating to the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, disarmament, and international peace and security. Main Committee II dealt principally with provisions relating to safeguards and nuclear-weapon-free zones. Main Committee III reviewed provisions relating to the peaceful applications of nuclear energy. Twe earlier review conferences were held in 1975 and 1980 and the participants at the third review proposed that a fourth be convened in 1990.

In accepting the Treaty, nuclear-weapon States are obliged not to transfer nuclear weapons to non-nuclear-weapon States. Non-nuclear-weapon States undertake not to receive or manufacture such weapons. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so are to co-operate in contributing to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

In the Final Declaration, the Conference on Disarmament was urged to begin multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament; continued support was declared for preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons and for the cessation of the nuclear arms race; creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones was deemed an important disarmament measure; and "great and serious concern' was expressed regarding the nuclear capabilities of South Africa and Israel.

The Conference noted the demands made on all States to suspend any co-operation which would contribute to South African and Israeli nuclear programmes, and further noted the demands made on South Africa and Israel to accede to the NPT, to accept IAEA safeguards on all their nuclear facilities, and to pledge themselves not to manufacture or acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

The Conference was also determined to further strengthen barriers against the proliferation of nuclear weapons among States. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguarsd provided assurances that States were complying with their agreements.

All non-nuclear weapon States not party to the Treaty were urged "to make an international legally-binding commitment' not to acquire nuclear weapons and to accept IAEA safeguards on all peaceful nuclear projects. An armed attack, or threat of attack on a safeguarded nuclear project, the Conference noted, would create a situation in which the Security Council would have to act immediately, in accordance with the Charter. …

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