PREPARATORY COMMITTEE FOR THE 2005 NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY REVIEW CONFERENCE TO MEET IN GENEVA 28 APRIL – 9 MAY

22 April 2003
DC/2862

PREPARATORY COMMITTEE FOR THE 2005 NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY REVIEW CONFERENCE TO MEET IN GENEVA 28 APRIL – 9 MAY

22/04/2003
Press Release
DC/2862


Background Release


PREPARATORY COMMITTEE FOR THE 2005 NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY

REVIEW CONFERENCE TO MEET IN GENEVA 28 APRIL – 9 MAY


NEW YORK, 22 April (Department of Disarmament Affairs) -- The Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will hold its second session from 28 April to 9 May 2003 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.  The Chairman of the second session is Ambassador László Molnár of Hungary.  The Preparatory Committee, open to all States parties to the Treaty, will address substantive and procedural issues related to the Treaty and the upcoming Review Conference in 2005.  The NPT, which entered into force in 1970 and was extended indefinitely in 1995, requires that review conferences be held every five years.


The purpose of the PrepCom is to prepare for the Review Conference in terms of assessing the implementation of each article of the NPT and facilitating discussion among States parties prior to the start of the Conference.  The April/May 2003 meeting is the second of three sessions that will be held prior to the 2005 Review Conference.  The first session was held from 8 to 19 April 2002 at United Nations Headquarters in New York.


The NPT is regarded as the cornerstone of the global nuclear
non-proliferation regime.  It 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.

Under the Treaty, 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 the goal of non-proliferation, the Treaty establishes a safeguards system under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  Safeguards are used to verify compliance with the NPT through inspections conducted by the IAEA.  The Treaty promotes cooperation in the field of 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.


At the 2000 NPT Review Conference, States parties agreed on a final document that included specific commitments to work towards the Treaty’s overall goals of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.  The document included the historic
13 “practical steps” towards nuclear disarmament, specifically the implementation

of article VI of the NPT, and paragraphs 3 and 4 of the 1995 Decision on “Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament”.
The 13 steps include action to be taken in the areas of nuclear testing, existingweapon-related stocks, verification and transparency, and the role of nuclear weapons in national security policy.  The 2000 NPT Review Conference also reaffirmed the importance of the resolution on the Middle East, adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference.  The 2000 Final Document also addressed measures to improve the review process for the NPT, specifically the consideration during each meeting of the Preparatory Committee of substantive issues related to the implementation of the Treaty and the outcome of the review conferences.

At the 2002 NPT PrepCom, the view was held that further strengthening and reinforcing the non-proliferation regime was imperative to prevent the use of nuclear materials and technologies for criminal/terrorist purposes.  The enhancement of the non-proliferation regimes covering all weapons of mass destruction, including efforts by the IAEA, was considered to be the most important integral part of combating terrorism. 


States parties called for the strengthening of the physical protection of nuclear material, among other things, through a well-defined amendment of the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.


The importance of the early entry into force of the Comprehensive
Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was underscored.  States which had not ratified the Treaty, especially those remaining States whose ratification was necessary, and in particular those two remaining nuclear-weapon States whose ratification was a prerequisite for its entry into force, were urged to do so without delay.

States parties recognized IAEA safeguards were a fundamental pillar of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and commended the important work of IAEA in implementing the safeguards.  States parties welcomed the efforts of IAEA in strengthening safeguards and the Agency’s completion of the conceptual framework for integrated safeguards.  The importance of the Model Additional Protocol was underlined.  States that had not yet concluded comprehensive safeguard agreements with IAEA were called upon to do so without delay.


It was also reaffirmed that nothing in the Treaty should be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.


On the issue of universality, States parties [at the 2002 PrepCom] reaffirmed the importance of the resolution on the Middle East adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference and recognized that the resolution remained valid until its goals and objectives were achieved.  States parties reiterated their support for the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons, as well as other weapons of mass destruction.


Further information may be found at the following Web page:  http://disarmament.un.org/wmd/npt/index.html


Also contact:  (until 23 April) Sari Nurro, Department for Disarmament Affairs (New York), (212) 963-9678; (after 24 April), Department for Disarmament Affairs (Geneva), (41-22) 917-5801, 4026, 3038.


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For information media. Not an official record.