Title: "US Rejoices in Decision on NPT Permanent Extension." Remarks by Ambassador Madeleine Albright regarding America's satisfaction with the decision to permanently extend the
nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). (950511)
Translated Title: Les Etats-Unis se rejouissent de la prorogation illimitee du TNP. (950511)
U.S. REJOICES IN DECISION ON NPT PERMANENT EXTENSION (NPT Text: statement by Ambassador Albright) (1280) United Nations -- Praising the agreement to make permanent the treaty to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, U.S. Ambassador Madeleine Albright said May 11 that the international community has "met an historic challenge and emerged victorious."
Albright, who is the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, discussed the U.S. strategy and rationale for its world-wide campaign for the indefinite, unconditional extension of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) at a press conference soon after the Conference of the States Parties to the NPT agreed by consensus to extend the 25-year-old NPT indefinitely. The conference also adopted other documents that included a statement of principles, commitment to a strengthened review process, and a resolution endorsing a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction.
Stressing the high priority President Clinton placed on the NPT and its permanence, Albright said that "confidence has been established in the permanence of the non-proliferation regime; countries can now continue to forego nuclear weapons without the fear that the treaty would collapse in the near future."
Following is the text of Albright's press statement: (begin text) Ladies and Gentlemen, let me begin by saying, on behalf of the entire American delegation to the NPT, that it has been a long, hard road, but we have finally reached our destination. The Non-Proliferation Treaty has been made permanent. The threat of nuclear weapons spreading to new countries has been eased. By reducing the risk that additional countries will become nuclear powers, this sterling success should make the world a safer place for all of us, for our children, and for their children.
President Clinton has made the extension of the NPT one of his highest foreign policy priorities. That is why Vice President Gore came to New York to lead the American delegation. That is why Secretary Christopher has worked this issue so hard, in New York, and in numerous meetings throughout the world. And that is why I have been involved in working the extension resolutions on a daily basis here at the U.N., and in discussions with leaders during my recent trip.
This has been an all-out team effort by the United States government. during which we have relied heavily on the indefatigable expertise of Ralph Earle and Tom Graham and the entire NPT delegation, as well as numerous other officials from the State Department, the Defense Department and the National Security Council staff.
Last but not least, let me express my government's thanks to Ambassador Dhanapala, the Conference President, who skillfully navigated some troubled diplomatic waters in order to allow the extension to occur without a divisive vote.
When this conference began, most commentators believed that a consensus of states parties could not be reached on indefinite extension. Many argued that the United States was unnecessarily jeopardizing the future of the NPT by insisting on indefinite extension without conditions. Many said that we would push some countries to reject or withdraw from the NPT, if we didn't accept a shorter extension. And many said we must go beyond what our government believes is the right pace for disarmament in order to achieve an extension of the NPT.
All of these views turned out to be wrong or vastly exaggerated. Despite many difficult days of fending off these and other criticisms, the delegation and the Administration went about our work in a determined, businesslike fashion.
Indeed, a quick look at today's decisions shows that our efforts paid off. First, we have successfully capitalized on this once in a lifetime opportunity to make this critical treaty permanent. Now countries can remain confident and certain that a decision to forego nuclear weapons will not put their nation at a disadvantage some number of years down the road.
Second, our strategy of insisting on indefinite extension -- even if it meant a vote must be taken -- was the right one. By demonstrating our determination to ensure indefinite extension, others realized that the course of wisdom was to negotiate in good faith on the accompanying documents and then agree unanimously to extend the Treaty.
Third, this permanent extension has been accomplished without the danger of conditionality. We successfully avoided language that ties the future of the NPT to a specific timetable for particular arms control and disarmament objectives. This was critical, because we have avoided a situation where the entire edifice of non-proliferation would collapse if a specific arms control objective was not achieved by a specified date. Again, confidence has been established in the permanence of the nonproliferation regime, countries can now continue to forego nuclear weapons without the fear that the Treaty would collapse in the near future.
Meanwhile, even as nearly every country in the world forswears nuclear weapons, the nuclear powers have taken, and will continue to take, major strides in the area of arms control and disarmament. The combination of START I and START II has resulted in the destruction or dismantlement of thousands of strategic nuclear arms, and the remaining weapons are no longer targeted at civilian populations. Negotiations to end nuclear weapons testing forever are on a fast track -- indeed President Clinton is committed to completing such a ban by next year. And the United States is pushing for a global ban on the production of fissile material for nuclear arms.
Taken together with the extension of the NPT, these steps have reduced greatly the risks of nuclear war. And that of course, is the purpose of all of our efforts.
Finally, in negotiating the accompanying documents, the Clinton Administration refused to be pushed into commitments on arms control and disarmament that we deemed unsound and unrealistic. And we still achieved indefinite extension, without conditions, and with the unanimous support of all parties to the Treaty.
At the same time, we embraced the concerns of many governments, led by the South African delegation, regarding the need to strengthen the treaty's review process. The indefinite extension of the NPT will not lessen our commitment to fulfilling our obligations under the treaty; an enhanced review mechanism will help ensure that outcome.
In closing, let me say that this successful outcome is, in my view, attributable to several factors. It is a tribute to the world-wide lobbying campaign President Clinton has led these past few months. Also, it is a result of the good-will the Clinton Administration has built up around the world as we have increasingly sought to pursue foreign policy objectives through multilateral diplomacy. By listening to other countries' concerns, and accommodating those concerns where we can, we have helped ensure that when something is important to the United States, other countries will respond accordingly. And of course our success today is the result of the commitment of many countries to the non-proliferation regime. Their understanding of the importance of making the treaty permanent was a critical factor.
In addressing this conference last month, Vice President Gore compared this moment of decision to the crisis faced by the World War II generation, what President Roosevelt referred to as a "rendez-vous with destiny."
I believe that, in taking today's decision, the countries of the world -- and the United States in particular -- have met an historic challenge and emerged victorious. By rejecting a more dangerous world filled with new nuclear dangers, we have chosen wisely. And by securing a world where uncertainty and fear do not generate new and perilous nuclear arms races, we have chosen to strengthen security for all.
(end text) NNNN