Tracking Number:  284302

Title:  "United States Wants NPT Extended Indefinitely." Michael Rosenthal, the US representative to the NPF Conference preparatory committee, says the 1995 Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty will be a very important means of advancing regional and global security, and the accord should be extended indefinitely. (930517)

Translated Title:  Estado Unidos desea extension indefinida de TNP.; Les E-U et le Traite sur la Non-Proliferation. (930517)
Date:  19930517


(Hopes 1995 talks will advance global security) (740) By Judy Aita USIA United Nations Correspondent United Nations -- The 1995 Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will be a very important means of advancing regional and global security, and the accord should be extended indefinitely, says a senior U.S. official.

"We believe that the NPT is an indispensable element of the international security framework," Michael Rosenthal, U.S. representative to the NPT Conference preparatory committee, said May 14. "The treaty has clearly demonstrated its value in promoting regional and global security by successfully discouraging the proliferation of nuclear weapons."

The parties to the NPT held their first meeting to prepare for the 1995 treaty review conference May 10-14. The Preparatory Committee (PrepCom), which is open to all 157 parties to the treaty, focused primarily on such procedural issues as location, agenda, background documentation and rules. Three more preparatory sessions are scheduled before the review conference is held in April 1995.

The NPT, which entered into force March 5, 1970, stipulates that parties are to meet 25 years after the entry into force to decide whether the treaty should continue in force indefinitely or be extended for additional fixed periods.

The United States supports the indefinite, unconditional extension of the NPT as the best means to eliminate uncertainty about the future of nuclear non-proliferation efforts and to ensure the continued success of efforts to reduce nuclear arsenals, Rosenthal, chief of the international nuclear affairs division of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency's Bureau of Non-Proliferation Policy, said at a news briefing in New York.

"We see it providing three separate benefits.

First, it prevents the proliferation of nuclear weapons," he said, noting that five countries -- the same number as when the treaty came into force -- have declared they are nuclear weapon states. (All five are parties to the NPT.)

In addition, the treaty "provides a framework for promoting peaceful nuclear cooperation under strictly controlled non-proliferation circumstances," Rosenthal said. "It has...requirements that call for the application of safeguards by the International Atomic Energy Agency to most significant transfers and those safeguards are applied comprehensively in parties to the treaty. They provide both a verification mechanism and a basis for giving each state trust and confidence in the fact that other states will use the technology provided for peaceful purposes."

Finally, he explained, the treaty promotes arms control and disarmament measures at the same time it provides a framework within which such measures are possible.

"The dramatic reduction in nuclear weapons in the United States and Russia that have been planned in recent arms control agreements, steps toward (a) comprehensive test ban and so forth...would be very difficult, if not impossible," without the NPT, he said.

The treaty is currently facing a crucial test following North Korea's announcement that it will withdraw from the NPT -- the first nation to do so. North Korea has said it is withdrawing over a dispute linked to inspection of two of its nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

During the PrepCom discussions, Rosenthal said, many nations underscored the gravity of the situation and urged North Korea to revoke its decision. There was a "strong and clear international consensus that (the North Koreans) are heading in the wrong direction," he said.

Rosenthal said that the fact that some states, such as Iraq and North Korea, have been found in non-compliance with the treaty does not mean that it is inadequate.

The NPT, he said, "has a framework that provides for verification, provides for legally-binding obligations, and provides an international framework and consensus that have established an international norm that makes proliferation of nuclear weapons a matter of great international concern."

Extension of the NPT should not be linked to progress on a comprehensive test ban, he said.

"We think...the NPT has a terribly important role to play and it will be important" regardless of whether or not there is a comprehensive test ban, he said.

If the NPT is not extended for longest possible time, Rosenthal added, a "tremendous uncertainty" will be created. "The stability and continuity of the NPT will provide a framework within which other arms control measures can be pursued with confidence that the international environment is going to remain stable," he said.