Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nations Extend Nuclear Treaty 5 Major Powers Agree to Goal of Eliminating Their Weapons

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nations Extend Nuclear Treaty 5 Major Powers Agree to Goal of Eliminating Their Weapons

Article excerpt

Negotiators from more than 170 nations concluded a historic agreement Thursday to permanently extend the expiring nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the 25-year-old accord banning the spread of nuclear weapons.

Meeting in the General Assembly hall of the United Nations, the negotiators agreed by consensus to make the treaty permanent and to accept a set of "principles and objectives" that includes specific steps to turn back the nuclear arms race.

While maintaining the nuclear monopoly for the five declared nuclear powers, the accord amounts to a near-universal declaration by other countries that they are safer by keeping nuclear weapons away from regional adversaries and "rogue" states than by seeking to acquire such weapons to defend themselves.

"By reducing the risk that additional countries will become nuclear powers, this sterling success should make the world a safer place for all of us, for our children, and for their children," declared Madeleine Albright, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

As part of the bargain, the world's five major nuclear powers - the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China - committed themselves for the first time to the "ultimate goal of eliminating" their nuclear arsenals.

In the interim, they pledged to work toward a comprehensive treaty banning nuclear testing by 1996 and rapid negotiation of a treaty to end production of nuclear bomb material. They also pledged to find ways to assure nonweapons states they would not be subject to nuclear attack by the big powers.

A dissatisfied North Korea, suspected of working to develop nuclear weapons, withdrew from the final decision-making sessions of the conference. North Korean delegate Kim Chung Guk said that did not signify his country was withdrawing from the treaty itself.

And Syria was among the Arab states left unhappy with an 11th-hour compromise over Israel's position outside the treaty's constraints. …

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