Nuclear powers support review of treaty on disarmament

May 16th, 2009 - 7:14 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama New York, May 16 (DPA) The world’s five recognised nuclear powers Friday endorsed the review of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), stressing the importance of nuclear disarmament and treaty’s obligations.
The US, Russia, China, France and Britain, the five permanent UN Security Council members, jointly renew support for the NPT, which will come under a periodic five-year review in 2010.

The previous review in 2005 ended in disarray because of disagreement among treaty signers and the absence of a clear agenda of discussion.

But organisers of the 2010 review conference said the atmosphere has changed under the administration of President Barack Obama.

“Our delegations reiterate our enduring and unequivocal commitment to work toward nuclear disarmament, an obligation shared by all NPT state parties,” the five powers said in a statement to coincide with the conclusion of talks at UN headquarters in New York to prepare for the 2010 meeting.

Zimbabwe’s UN Ambassador Boniface Chidyausiku, who chaired the preparatory talks, said Obama has injected a new atmosphere and political good will in nuclear disarmament. Chidyausiku said the preparatory talks agreed within three days on an ambitious agenda for the 2010 conference whereas disputes among the NPT signers in 2005 failed to even agree on an agenda.

The review conference will take place in April 2010 at UN headquarters in New York.

“We have a good agenda for the review conference,” which would address problems dividing NPT parties, he said.

Obama has called for a world free of nuclear weapons and has urged Congress to support the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). The US and Russia have also agreed to negotiate a new agreement replacing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty dealing with the two countries’ nuclear arsenals.

The five nuclear powers said in their statement that they welcome the US-Russian decision on a new START agreement. They called for strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nuclear safeguards and to ensure their compliance.

In particular, the five powers urged respect of Article 4 of the NPT, which supports the rights of countries to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The mention of Article 4 was in clear reference to the dispute between the five nuclear powers and Iran. Tehran claims its nuclear programmes are for civilian use, but the five powers disagree.

“We note our commitment to use the opportunity of the 2010 review conference to preserve international confidence in the treaty and to strengthen it in all its aspects,” the statement said. “We urge all NPT state parties to share in this goal and join us in working to ensure a successful and balanced review.”

The NPT entered into force in 1970 during the height of the Cold War with severe division among the nuclear powers. Signed by 188 countries, it remains the treaty with the largest number of signers.

The treaty urges nuclear disarmament and confides on the Vienna-based IAEA the responsibility to set and monitor nuclear safeguards. But it recognizes countries’ rights to possess nuclear energy for peaceful uses.

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