Preparations

By the decision on "Strengthening the review process for the Treaty", parties agreed to hold meetings of the Preparatory Committee in each of the three years prior to the 2000 Review Conference. Preparatory Committee meetings are to "consider principles, objectives and ways in order to promote the full implementation of the Treaty, as well as its universality, and to make recommendations thereon to the Review Conference. These include those identified in the decision on principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament". The sessions are also aimed at preparing the organizational and procedural aspects of the 2000 Review Conference.

In this vein, the General Assembly, by its resolution 51/45 A, established a Preparatory Committee for the 2000 Review Conference. The Committee held three sessions, the first in New York from 7 to 18 April 1997, the second in Geneva from 27 April to 8 May 1998 and the third in New York from 10 to 21 May 1999. The majority of the Committee&rsquot;s meetings were devoted to a substantive consideration of all aspects of the Treaty. The discussions focused in particular on the question of universality of the Treaty, non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament, negotiations on a convention banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, security assurances for parties to the NPT, IAEA safeguards, establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, peaceful uses of nuclear energy and the resolution on the Middle East adopted in 1995. In the course of the discussions, States parties submitted numerous proposals for substantive recommendations to the 2000 Review Conference. However, the Committee was unable to reach agreement on any of them due to the persistence of divergent views, mainly between the non-aligned States members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the NWS on the implementation of article VI of the Treaty, as well as between those seeking fundamental and immediate changes and those favouring an incremental approach. Areas of contention were universality of the Treaty, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, negative security assurances, negotiations on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, and the resolution on the Middle East. The working paper by the Chairman of the third session and the various proposals by delegations were included in the final report of the Preparatory Committee to the 2000 Review Conference.

As regards the organizational arrangements for the Conference, the Preparatory Committee unanimously endorsed the candidature of Ambassador Abdallah Baali of Algeria, the candidate of the NAM States parties to the NPT, as the President of the Conference.

Among the issues that are expected to be considered at great length at the Conference in view of recent developments are: universality of the Treaty, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, nuclear-weapon-free zones, and safeguards and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Universality

The 1995 Decision on Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament encouraged all NPT States parties to exert "every effort" to achieve universal adherence to this Treaty. Since the 1995 Review and Extension Conference, nine States have acceded: Andorra, Angola, Brazil, Chile, Comoros, Djibouti, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Vanuatu. Four States continue to remain outside the Treaty: Cuba, India, Israel and Pakistan.

In June 1998, following the South Asian nuclear tests, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved resolution 1172, which urged India, Pakistan, and all other States that have not yet done so, to become parties to the NPT without delay and without conditions.

Nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament

The findings of 1995 that the proliferation of nuclear weapons "would seriously increase the danger of nuclear war" remain even more valid in the light of the nuclear tests in South Asia, and there remains broad and deep international support for the global non-proliferation norms of the Treaty. However, progress towards further reductions in nuclear weapons remains limited and the absence of global negotiations on nuclear disarmament continues to be a source of disappointment and concern.

The States parties agreed in 1995 on a programme of action towards nuclear disarmament. The first measure towards implementation of article VI of the Treaty was to complete negotiations on the CTBT "no later than 1996". The CTBT was opened for signature on 24 September 1996 and has been signed by 155 States. Fifty-four States have ratified it as of 8 March 2000. All five NWS have signed the Treaty; France and the United Kingdom have ratified it. Of the 44 States whose signature and ratification are essential for the Treaty to enter into force, 28 States have done so. At the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, held in October 1999 in Vienna, ratifying and signatory States adopted a Final Declaration calling on all signatory States to ratify the Treaty as soon as possible, and urging those States whose ratification is required for the CTBT&rsquot;s entry into force, but have not yet signed, to do so. In October 1999, the US Senate failed to give its consent to ratify the CTBT.

As regards the second measure identified in 1995, an ad hoc committee to negotiate a non-discriminatory and universally applicable convention banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices was briefly established by the Conference on Disarmament in 1998; disagreement over the programme of work of the Conference has, however, prevented the commencement of negotiations. Progress was limited with respect to implementation of the third measure: "The determined pursuit by the nuclear-weapon States of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally, with the ultimate goal of eliminating those weapons, and by all States of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control." In this connection, issues such as the current status of START negotiations, strategic doctrines, the prevention of an arms race in outer space and ballistic missile defences are likely to be sources of intense debate.

Nuclear-weapon-free zones

Since 1995, some progress has been made in consolidating existing nuclear-weapon-free zones and establishing new such zones. The Bangkok Treaty establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Southeast Asia entered into force in 1997. The Pelindaba Treaty establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Africa was signed in 1996, although progress has been slow in acquiring the 28 ratifications to bring the Treaty into force. For a number of years, the General Assembly has welcomed the contribution these treaties are making to freeing the southern hemisphere from nuclear weapons. Negotiations are under way to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia. The international community acknowledges the nuclear-weapon-free status of Mongolia. In 1999, the UN Disarmament Commission reached consensus on language concerning the principles of establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones. Nevertheless, no progress has been made in establishing a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

Safeguards and peaceful uses of nuclear energy

As mentioned above, 46 countries have taken steps to implement strengthened safeguards through adherence to the Additional Protocol (INFCIRC/540 (Corrected)). In 1996, a trilateral initiative was agreed upon between the Russian Federation, the United States, and the IAEA to place nuclear material transferred from military use to peaceful nuclear activities under IAEA supervision. However, concern over non-compliance with the safeguards provisions of the Treaty has continued since 1995, especially in view of the fact that the IAEA remains unable to verify that all nuclear material subject to safeguards in the DPRK has been declared to the Agency. The IAEA is also still unable to carry out its Security Council-mandated responsibilities in Iraq under resolution 687 (1991).

The 1995 decision stated that new nuclear supply arrangements should be accompanied by a commitment by the recipient to full-scope safeguards. It also stressed the importance of greater transparency in nuclear-related export controls. As in the past, the issue of the inalienable right of all the parties to the NPT to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination will continue to receive great attention.

 

Nuclear Weapons

2009 Disarmament Yearbook
yearbook icon More on Nuclear Weapons