Title: "Gore: Permanent NPT in 'Security Interests' of All Members." Vice President Al Gore said nations should support the permanent extension of the nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT) not as a concession to another nation, but because such support is in all nations' interests. (950419)
Translated Title: Gore: TNP permanente sirve "interes de seguridad" de todos los miembros. (950419)
Author: PORTH, JACQUELYN S (USIA STAFF WRITER)
GORE: PERMANENT NPT IN "SECURITY INTERESTS" OF ALL MEMBERS (NPT: U.S. vows to work on treaty review mechanism) (900) By Jacquelyn S. Porth USIA Security Affairs Correspondent United Nations -- Parties to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty should support the indefinite and unconditional extension of the accord -- "not as a favor or concession to anyone, but because it is deeply in the security interests" of every member of the 1968 treaty, Vice President Gore declared April 19.
"The NPT will remain a living document," the vice president pledged during an address to the NPT review and extension conference which is being held at the United Nations.
While working to achieve the majority vote necessary to achieve indefinite extension of the NPT, Gore said, the United States also "will work closely with other delegations" to the ongoing NPT conference to ensure that the treaty's review mechanism "remains vital and effective."
"Even more than when it was concluded 25 years ago," Gore said, "the treaty reduces the nuclear threat faced by each and every one of its parties, creates the basis for international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and makes a critical contribution to the global stability needed to achieve further measures of arms control and disarmament."
Gore was asked by President Clinton to lead the U.S. delegation to the month-long NPT conference which opened on April 17. Parties to the accord must decide during the conference whether to extend the NPT for an indefinite period -- finally making the treaty permanent -- or to extend it for a fixed period or fixed periods of time.
The vice president emphasized that the vote on extending the NPT should not be made by secret ballot as representatives of some nations have advocated. "The United States strongly rejects any notion that the decisions of this conference cannot stand the light of day," he said, "and calls upon all countries to take responsibility for their actions."
With the convening of the NPT conference, Gore noted, "the struggle to block the proliferation of nuclear weapons enters a critical phase." A few countries which may seek nuclear weapons "have an increasing possibility of succeeding" and should they do so, he said, "the consequences would not be merely local but, inevitably, global, causing a recalculation by those who initially decided that they did not want nuclear weapons."
Following a quarter century of experience with the NPT regime, Gore noted, it is now necessary to decide "whether the cause of peace is best served by continuing the treaty under temporary arrangements, or by using our one-time option to give it a permanent basis, by supporting its indefinite extension without conditions."
While expressing U.S. understanding and respect for alternative proposals put forward by some other nations, Gore examined and rebutted all the popular arguments against indefinite extension. The NPT has not created "a permanent class of nuclear weapons states" as some nations have suggested, he said, pointing to the fact that Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine have eschewed nuclear weapons.
Gore also cited U.S. and Russian efforts to disarm, including the agreement on the elimination of intermediate-range nuclear weapons and the two treaties on strategic arms reduction (START and START II) to remove nuclear weapons from U.S. and Russian stockpiles. The vice president noted that the two countries are looking "forward to the possibility of continued reductions."
Gore also cited the reaffirmation this month of the commitment by Russia, France, Britain and the United States "to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to nuclear disarmament."
The vice president rejected the argument that the best way to ensure that the major nuclear powers move forward on disarmament is to hold the NPT hostage. Subjecting the treaty to "rolling periods" of review would risk sending "a very powerful signal to states that aspire to acquire nuclear weapons" and would encourage them "to hold their options in reserve, rather than to accept the permanence of their obligations" under NPT, Gore said.
Regarding the argument that indefinite extension could promote the risk of intimidation by nuclear weapons states and states not party to the treaty, the vice president pointed out that the NPT established a global non-proliferation norm "that the world community has demonstrated it is willing to defend." The treaty "has far more effectively discouraged nuclear intimidation than would the indiscriminate threat of nuclear weapons," he added.
Rejecting the contention that making the treaty permanent would destroy its ability to meet changing circumstances, Gore pointed out that the NPT has already coped with "radical" world changes and incorporates "procedures for review and amendment." Existing five-year NPT review periods provide all members "the opportunity to raise concerns about the operation of the treaty," he said.
The case for making the NPT permanent is "compelling," Gore said, because it creates a more secure world for its members -- both nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states. "By providing an internationally recognized, verifiable means for states to forswear nuclear weapons forever," he said, "the treaty helps prevent regional rivalries from evolving into regional nuclear arms races."
By making it possible for the vast majority of the world's nations to remain non-nuclear without jeopardizing their security, Gore said, the treaty "reinforces the global stability that is a necessary foundation for further progress in arms control and disarmament."