A preparatory committee to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) - the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime - begins a two-week meeting in Geneva on Monday under the shadow of concern over nuclear materials falling into the hands of criminals or terrorists.
The Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2005 Review Conference of the NPT, which entered into force in 1970, is open to all States parties and is the second of three to be held prior to the conference, which is required every five years.
At the first PrepCom in 2002, further strengthening and reinforcing the non-proliferation regime was viewed as imperative to prevent the use of nuclear materials and technologies for criminal and terrorist purposes. Enhancement of non-proliferation regimes covering all weapons of mass destruction, including efforts by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was seen as the most important integral part of combating terrorism.
The NPT was designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to further the goal of nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament, and to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Each nuclear-weapon-State party undertakes not to transfer nuclear weapons to any recipient or assist or encourage any non-nuclear-weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons. Similarly, each non-nuclear-weapon-State party undertakes not to receive the transfer of nuclear weapons or manufacture or otherwise acquire them.
To further its goals, the treaty establishes a safeguards system under IAEA auspices, including inspections, and promotes cooperation in peaceful nuclear technology and equal access to this technology for all States parties, while safeguards prevent the diversion of fissile material for the development of weapons.
The Chairman of the second PrepCom is Ambassador László Molnár of Hungary and the meeting will address substantive and procedural issues related to the upcoming Review Conference.