The signing of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (The Treaty of Pelindaba) on 11 April in Cairo was an important contribution by African countries to the maintenance of international peace and security, stated the Security Council this afternoon.
In a statement read by its President, Juan Somavia (Chile), the Council said the "historic event" formalized the commitment demonstrated 32 years ago when the Organization of African Unity (OAU) declared Africa a denuclearized zone. The Council encouraged such regional disarmament efforts and said it would support any international and regional efforts to achieve the universality of the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
The Council said it considered the signing of the Treaty by more than 40 African countries, as well as the signing of the relevant protocols to the Treaty by the majority of the nuclear-weapon States, important steps towards its effective and early implementation. The Council emphasized the importance of early ratification to speed the Treaty's entry into force. The Council also noted the adoption of "The Cairo Declaration" at the signing ceremony. The Declaration emphasizes that the establishment of nuclear- weapon-free zones, especially in regions of tension, such as the Middle East, enhances global and regional peace and security. Further, it invites African States to ratify the Treaty as soon as possible and calls on the nuclear- weapon States to sign and ratify the Treaty's relevant protocols and pursue the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.
The meeting, called to order at 1:09 p.m., was adjourned at 1:14 p.m.
The text of the presidential statement, to be released as document S/PRST/1996/17, reads as follows:
"The Security Council notes with deep satisfaction the signature of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (the Treaty of Pelindaba), on 11 April 1996, in Cairo, Egypt, and notes further the adoption of "The Cairo Declaration" on that occasion.
Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/6205 3650th Meeting (PM) 12 April 1996
"This historic event marks a successful formalization of the commitment undertaken 32 years ago when the leaders of Africa adopted in July 1964 at Cairo the pioneering resolution of the First Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity, which declared Africa and denuclearized zone.
"The Security Council considers that the signing of the Treaty by more than 40 African countries, as well as the signing of the relevant protocols to the Treaty by the majority of the nuclear-weapon States, constitute important steps towards the effective and early implementation of the Treaty. To that end it emphasizes the importance of early ratification of the Treaty with a view to securing its rapid entry into force.
"The Security Council, reaffirming the statement made by its President on behalf of members of the Council at the meeting held at the level of Heads of State and Government on 31 January 1992 (S/23500) that the proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction constitutes a threat to international peace and security, considers that the signature of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty constitutes an important contribution by the African countries to the maintenance of international peace and security.
"The Security Council seizes this occasion to encourage such regional efforts, and stands ready to support efforts on the international and regional level aimed at achieving the universality of the nuclear non-proliferation regime."
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