23 April 1998

Press Release


Background Release
(Reissued as received.)

GENEVA, 22 April (UN Information Service) -- The Preparatory Committee for the year 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will hold its second session in Geneva from 27 April to 8 May.

The Committee, which is open to all 186 State parties to the NPT, will continue its work based on the agenda adopted at its first session, held in New York in April 1997. It is expected to devote most of its meetings to a substantive consideration of all aspects of the Treaty. The issues to be addressed in detail are the following: universality of the Treaty; non-proliferation; nuclear disarmament; security assurances for parties to the NPT; establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones; International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards; and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The Committee is expected to take into account the official documents and other proposals submitted by delegations during the first session, as well as the Chairman's working paper in the course of its further work on draft recommendations to the Review Conference. Furthermore, in accordance with a statement made by the Chairman of the first session, Pasi Patokallio (Finland), time would be allocated for the discussion and consideration of any proposals, without prejudice to the importance of other issues, on: security assurances for parties to the NPT; the resolution on the Middle East adopted at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference; and a non-discriminatory and universally applicable convention banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

The Committee will also take up outstanding procedural issues related to the organization of the 2000 Review Conference, including its draft rules of procedure, financing and background documentation.

States not parties to the NPT, specialized agencies and regional intergovernmental organizations, as well as non-governmental organizations, will be allowed to attend the open meetings of the Committee. Time will also be set aside for non-governmental organizations to make presentations to the delegations.

Ambassador Eugeniusz Wyzner of Poland is Chairman-designate of the second session. The Preparatory Committee will hold a third session from 12

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to 23 April 1999 in New York. The Review Conference will be convened from 24 April to 19 May the following year, also in New York. Both the third session and the 2000 Review Conference will be chaired by a representative of the Group of Non-Aligned and other States parties to the NPT.

Background on 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference

On 11 May 1995, the Parties to the NPT decided without a vote that, as a majority existed among the States parties of the Treaty for its indefinite extension in accordance with article X, paragraph 2, the Treaty would continue in force indefinitely. Coupled with this was the adoption of decisions on strengthening the review process for the Treaty and on principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, respectively, and of a resolution on the Middle East.

By the decision on strengthening the review process for the Treaty, the parties had agreed to continue to hold review conferences every five years and that, accordingly, the next Review Conference should be held in the year 2000. They also decided, beginning in 1997, to hold meetings of the Preparatory Committee in each of the three years prior to the Review Conference. According to the decision, the Preparatory Committee meetings are to consider principles, objectives and ways to promote the full implementation of the Treaty, as well as its universality, and to make recommendations thereon to the Review Conference. These include those identified in the decision on principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. The sessions are also aimed at addressing organizational and procedural aspects of the Preparatory Committee and of the 2000 Review Conference itself.

There was also agreement that review conferences should look forward as well as back. They should evaluate the results of the period they are reviewing, including the implementation of undertakings of the States parties under the Treaty, and identify the areas in which, and the means through which, further progress should be sought in the future. Review conferences should also address specifically what might be done to strengthen the implementation of the Treaty and to achieve its universality.

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