The latest review meeting of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) wrapped up today by reaffirming the resolve of the five Member States with nuclear weapons to eliminate their arsenals and calling for a United Nations-sponsored conference in 2012 to establish a nuclear-free Middle East.
The final document of the five-yearly review forum called on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the co-sponsors of a 1995 resolution proposing a Middle East free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction to convene a conference to be attended by all States in the region
The document specifically reaffirms “the importance of Israel’s accession to the Treaty and the placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] safeguards.”
Israel is not a member of the NPT and does not admit to having nuclear weapons. Two other non-members, India and Pakistan, admit openly to their nuclear arsenals, as does the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), which in 2003 announced it was withdrawing from the treaty.
In a statement issued by his spokesman, in which he called the month-long review conference a success, Mr. Ban particularly welcomed the agreement on a process leading to the establishment of a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
“A strong spirit of compromise and cooperation has delivered a significant agreement to build a safer and more secure world,” it said, adding that the action plan lays a solid foundation to further strengthen the treaty and address the challenges that lie ahead.
“The agreement on concrete actions will advance all three pillars of the treaty – disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy,” the statement declared. “He welcomes the firm commitment of the nuclear weapon states to advance their efforts to eliminate all nuclear weapons. He also welcomes the strong commitment of the States Parties to prevent nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism.”
The review conference resolved that Russia and the United States, which together with three other nuclear-weapons States (Britain, China and France) are NPT members, would seek an early entry into force of a treaty they signed earlier this year to reduce their nuclear arsenals.
“The conference reaffirms and recognizes that the total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons,” the document said, also stressing the vital importance of the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
It called on all states to take all measures to prevent nuclear proliferation with wider safeguards against diversion of fissile materials from civilian reactors and other sites, enhanced physical protection and improved capabilities “to detect, deter and disrupt illicit trafficking.”
It also called on those States that have not yet done so to join a host of international treaties that can further the non-proliferation of nuclear materials, including the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
It urged the DPRK to fulfil its commitments under the now-suspended six-party talks which sought to resolve the crisis over the country’s nuclear programme.
“The Secretary-General encourages State Parties to translate all of their commitments into concrete action,” Mr. Ban’s spokesman said in the statement, welcoming “the successful outcome” of the conference.
“He looks forward to working with the international community toward realizing the common goal of a world without nuclear weapons. As Secretary-General, he will spare no effort to assist the States Parties in implementing their agreement.”