Tracking Number:  340456

Title:  "US Committed to Indefinite Extension of NPT." Acting Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Deputy Director Thomas Graham told a disarmament symposium that the US is committed to make every effort to win the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at the 1995 review conference. (940422)

Translated Title:  EU comprometido a extender indefinidamente TNP.; Les E-U veulent prolonger le TNP indefiniment. (940422)
Date:  19940422


(Strong pact needed for global security, Graham says) (690) By Judy Aita USIA United Nations Correspondent United Nations -- The United States "is committed to make every effort" to win the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) at the 1995 review conference, a top U.S. arms control official said April 21.

Thomas Graham, acting deputy director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), told a disarmament symposium on NPT extension at U.N. headquarters in New York that "a strong NPT is essential to regional and global security and to efforts to reduce the number of nuclear weapons."

"An uncertain future for the NPT beyond 1995 would force states to prepare for the possible collapse of the only global, political, and legal barrier to nuclear weapons proliferation that currently exists and would undermine a country's interest in seeing the nuclear nonproliferation regime further strengthened," he said.

Graham noted that in 1968 the world had no experience "in operating a complex global nuclear nonproliferation regime. Over the life of the NPT many nonproliferation and arms control initiatives have been pursued which, building on the foundation of the NPT, allows us today to declare the nuclear nonproliferation regime a major success."

The upcoming review offers a one-time opportunity to extend the NPT, which explicitly provides that parties will meet in 1995 to decide whether the treaty will continue in force indefinitely or for fixed periods. The 1995 review will be the only opportunity for the parties to extend the treaty in a move that is legally binding on every member -- without having to be ratified by over 80 states, including all five nuclear weapons states.

Given the stringent amendment requirements in the treaty and the world political situation, Graham said, "it would be near impossible" to get an indefinite extension after 1995.

"It took 19 years for the original 98 signatories of the NPT to ratify their decision. It is likely that any effort to amend the NPT today -- even for such a necessary purpose for extending its life -- would fall victim to the processes and ratifications by national parliaments," he said. "Even with the best intention to collect ratification, it could take years, which, in turn, could seriously undermine the entire international NPT regime."

"Even if all treaty requirements were met, the extension would only apply to states that ratified it, giving many states an easy out," Graham said.

According to Graham, the NPT "has stood for nearly 25 years as the primary legal and political barrier to the further proliferation of nuclear weapons," he said. "It is the only instrument that is global in scope and as such reflects an international norm of nonproliferation that has helped to isolate states outside the regime who have persisted in their efforts to acquire nuclear weapons."

When it entered into force in 1970, "the treaty transformed the acquisition of nuclear weapons from an act of national pride to one contrary to international law," Graham said. "The treaty codifies a standard of acceptable behavior against which the action of states outside the regime are measured."

A unique aspect of the NPT is that it is the only multilateral arms control agreement that obligates all its parties to pursue disarmament. That provision provides a framework and foundation for arms control measures and contributes to a stable international environment, Graham said.

The treaty also provides essential support to the development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy under effective international safeguards, he said.

Graham said that during the review conference it is likely that additional measures to strengthen the regime will be discussed, such as strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards system and reinforcing existing supplier arrangements. Both, he pointed out, "are dependent upon a strong, durable, NPT."

The NPT has 163 parties and by next year may have as many as 170. The extension options include an indefinite extension without end, a series of automatically renewable long-tern extensions, a series of automatically renewable short term extensions, or a single term extension.