Tracking Number:  387913

Title:  "Egypt Favors Limited Extension of NPT." Egyptian representative Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy said his nation may support a limited extension of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). (950419)

Date:  19950419


04/19/95 EGYPT FAVORS LIMITED EXTENSION OF NPT (NPT: CSIS Panel Views Future of NPT in Mideast) (550) By George S. Hishmeh USIA Staff Writer Washington -- A senior Egyptian diplomat held out the possibility that Egypt will agree to a limited extension of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, now the subject of a United Nations review conference in New York.

"I find it difficult to accept an indefinite extension without the regional dimension (of the treaty) being addressed," before the vote on May 12 on the indefinite extension of the international accord, said Ramzy Ramzy, the deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of Egypt.

Ramzy was not categorical in his April 19 remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), an influential think tank here. Other speakers included Shai Feldman, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, and Ahmed Hashim, a senior associate in political military studies at CSIS.

"There are possibilities for a definite extension," Ramzy emphasized, suggesting a five-year period as one possibility in order to see whether the more than 170 signatories are "true to their commitments."

He cited, for example, the promise of the nuclear powers to pass on nuclear technology to the non-nuclear members, indicating that he did not think this was fully implemented.

The United States has been campaigning for an "indefinite and unconditional" extension of the treaty.

In an April 5 statement, Secretary of State Warren Christopher said many of NPT's achievements have been invisible -- "the weapons not built, the nuclear materials not diverted, and the wars not started." He added the United States recognizes the "legitimate" need of non-nuclear weapons states for assurances that foregoing the nuclear option does not jeopardize their security.

Ramzy began by stating that Egypt's opposition to the indefinite extension of the NPT accord is misunderstood.

He pointed out that Egypt was among the first signatories to the treaty and went on to cite several Egyptian ideas for a nuclear weapons-free zone, including an abortive attempt to attach something along these lines into the Camp David accords. Another was the call by Egypt in July 1991 on the eve of the Gulf War for the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

Ramzy stressed that at present there is "a foundation for peace" in the Middle East in Israel's peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan and its accord with the Palestinians. He added the focus should shift to what he called "the architecture of peace."

The Egyptian diplomat noted that to have an "equitable, stable peace" in the region must be built on eliminating asymmetry in the Middle East -- a reference to Israel's presumed possession of nuclear weapons and refusal to sign the NPT treaty.

He emphasized that Egypt believes that the NPT is "an extremely important instrument to control spread of nuclear weapons," but he said for the treaty to be credible it has to be "universal."

In order to achieve this goal, Ramzy continued, Israel would have to commit itself to join the NPT by "some future date" or to start "the process of negotiations on an agreement for a weapons of mass destruction" accord.