PREPARATORY COMMITTEE FOR 2005 REVIEW CONFERENCE ON NUCLEARNON-PROLIFERATION TREATY IN NEW YORK, 26 APRIL – 7 MAY

22 April 2004
DC/2918

PREPARATORY COMMITTEE FOR 2005 REVIEW CONFERENCE ON NUCLEARNON-PROLIFERATION TREATY IN NEW YORK, 26 APRIL – 7 MAY

22/04/2004
Press ReleaseDC/2918

Background Release                                         

PrepaRAtory committee for 2005 review conference on nuclear

non-proliferation treaty in new york, 26 april – 7 may

NEW YORK, 21 April (Department for Disarmament Affairs) -- The Preparatory Committee for the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will hold its third session from 26 April to 7 May 2004 at United Nations Headquarters in New York.  The Chairman-designate of the third session is Ambassador Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat of Indonesia.  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 Preparatory Committee is to prepare for the Review Conference in terms of facilitating discussions among States Parties prior to the Conference and assessing the implementation of each article of the NPT.  Its first session was held from 8 to 19 April 2002 at United Nations Headquarters in New York, and the second from 28 April to 9 May 2003 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.  Taking into account the deliberations and results of the previous sessions, the third session is tasked to make every effort to produce a consensus report containing recommendations to the Review Conference.

The 2003 Preparatory Committee adopted its report by consensus on 9 May.  The Chairman's factual summary was annexed to the report and will be transmitted to the third session of the Preparatory Committee.  Inter alia, States Parties reaffirmed that the NPT was the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.  States Parties reiterated that the Treaty rests on three pillars:  non-proliferation, disarmament, and peaceful nuclear cooperation.  It was also reaffirmed that each article of the Treaty is binding on the respective States Parties at all times and in all circumstances.

States Parties stressed the increasingly grave threat to the Treaty and international security posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, as well as the possibility that non-State actors might gain access to these weapons, and urged the strengthening of the physical protection of nuclear material and facilities.

Multilateralism was emphasized as a core principle in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation with a view to maintaining and strengthening universal norms and enlarging their scope.

The importance of increased transparency with regard to the nuclear weapons capabilities was confirmed. It was emphasized that accountability and transparency of nuclear disarmament measures by all States Parties remained the main criteria with which to evaluate the Treaty’s operation.  States Parties also reiterated the inalienable right of the States Parties to engage in research, production and the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination.

On the issue of universality, States Parties 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.

States Parties recognized International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards as a fundamental pillar of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and commended the important work of the IAEA in implementing the safeguards system to verify compliance with the non-proliferation obligations of the Treaty.  States Parties reaffirmed the need for the Additional Protocol to be universalized.

Background on Treaty

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. 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.

The Treaty establishes a safeguards system under the auspices of the IAEA, which is 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 previous NPT Review Conference in 2000, 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 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, existing weapon-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.

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

Also contact:  Åsa Theander, Associate Political Affairs Officer, Department for Disarmament Affairs, New York, at (212) 963-2381; e-mail: theander@un.org.

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For information media. Not an official record.