DATE=5/19/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=U-N NUCLEAR WEAPONS CONFERENCE (L ONLY) NUMBER=2-262585 BYLINE=BRECK ARDERY DATELINE=UNITED NATIONS CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Organizations monitoring a U-N sponsored conference on nuclear weapons expressed satisfaction today (Friday) over a pledge from the world's five major nuclear weapons countries. VOA Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from the United Nations. TEXT: During much of the month-long conference, the non-governmental groups monitoring the sessions have been critical of what they saw as lack of progress toward nuclear disarmament. But on Thursday, the five major nuclear powers -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - pledged what they call an "unequivocal undertaking" to totally eliminate atomic weapons. Felicity Powers of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom told reporters the pledge marks a milestone. ///Powers act/// This is a first inasmuch as the nuclear weapons states have committed to the total elimination of their arsenals. Another noteworthy thing in this forward-looking plan, is the principle of irreversibility to apply to nuclear disarmament, meaning that once reductions have been made, the arsenals will not be built up again. ///end act/// However, the five major nuclear powers set no timetable for the total elimination of their weapons and some representatives of non-governmental groups say that is a major weakness of the pledge. Jean McSorely of Greenpeace International is skeptical about the sincerity of the pledge. ///McSorely act/// None of those countries are committing the same amount of energy or intellectual and financial resources to getting rid of nuclear weapons that they are committing to retaining them and, in some cases, developing and modernizing them. ///end act/// Ms. McSorely says Greenpeace wants to see legally- binding commitments to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. The U-N conference, held every five years, is an effort to review progress in implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968, which has been signed by 187 nations. (Signed) NEB/UN/BA/ENE/KBK 19-May-2000 15:39 PM EDT (19-May-2000 1939 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .