Tracking Number:  388764

Title:  "Arms Control Experts Predict Permanent Extension for NPT." Arms control experts John Holum, Kenneth Adelman and Leonard Spector predict that the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will be permanently extended. (950425)

Translated Title:  Expertos control armas predicen prorroga permanente del TNP. (950425)
Date:  19950425

ARMS CONTROL EXPERTS PREDICT PERMANENT EXTENSION FOR NPT (NPT: See it principal barrier to nuclear expansion) (790) By Jacquelyn S. Porth USIA Security Affairs Writer Washington -- Three U.S. arms control experts expressed agreement on April 25 that the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will be indefinitely extended before the month-long NPT review and extension conference ends in New York on May 12.

U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) Director John Holum, syndicated columnist and former ACDA Director Kenneth Adelman, and Leonard Spector of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace predicted the 1968 treaty will be made permanent after the 178 members vote in the coming weeks.

Treaty members must vote to extend the NPT indefinitely, which would give the arms control agreement permanent status, or to extend it for a fixed or fixed periods. Venezuela, for example, has proposed a 25-year extension of the treaty, while Indonesia favors fixed periods of extension. The United States, meanwhile, for several years, has been urging indefinite extension.

As of April 24, the Campaign for the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which represents 18 private U.S. arms control and disarmament organizations, had counted more than 97 nations that have publicly expressed support for indefinite extension of the NPT. That is more than the minimum number of states required to carry the vote.

In an April 25 interview on National Public Radio's, "The Diane Rehm Show," Holum pointed out that the NPT has been the "principal barrier" to the growth of nuclear weapons states. There are currently five nuclear weapons states -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- and three threshold states -- India, Pakistan and Israel. South Africa renounced its nuclear weapons in 1992.

The NPT has worked "quite well," Holum said, noting that without it there could be as many as 40 states with the technological capability to produce nuclear devices if they chose to do so. At the same time, he said, the treaty has not been an "entire barrier" to states with nuclear ambitions. The NPT, he said, has not yet succeeded in reigning in the threshold states.

The treaty should be supplemented with appropriate nuclear export controls, the ACDA official said. Without the NPT, he indicated, some 900 nuclear facilities around the world would be unregulated.

The NPT should be made permanent, Holum argued, not as "a favor" to the United States or other nuclear weapons states but because it is a "security instrument" for its members.

Spector, asked about prospects for the forthcoming vote, said there appears to be majority support for indefinite extension assuming conference attendees successfully solicit response from the nuclear weapons states on a "formula" for future nuclear arms reductions.

Adelman said "it is really wrong" for non-nuclear weapons states to complain that the nuclear weapons states have not lived up to their commitments under the terms of the treaty, and Holum called arms reduction efforts "very dramatic."

The United States, he pointed out, has committed to eliminate 80 percent of its peak nuclear arsenal. The United States is also taking the lead in trying to achieve an early conclusion of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and a nuclear fissile material cut-off convention.

While a number of Third World countries complain about the NPT, Adelman said, the treaty is a "good bargain" for them because they benefit from having non-nuclear neighbors.

Spector, who is one of the authors of a new Carnegie Endowment book titled "Tracking Nuclear Proliferation," suggested that a notable fact about the NPT is that, despite considerable "grousing" about the treaty, more and more countries are joining all the time.

Holum said Iraq's previously unknown nuclear efforts have been "a wake up call" for the international community and the special inspections carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the post-Persian Gulf conflict era have helped bring "to light" the potential nuclear problem in North Korea.

Spector warned that Iraq would like to "restart" its nuclear program if it could. International dismantlement, monitoring, and inspection efforts make this unlikely, he said, noting that there is much more sharing of intelligence information on nuclear activities in the post-Gulf war period through the IAEA. He did not reveal the source of that information.

Holum said the IAEA is taking steps to assert its rights "more forcefully" to inspect undeclared nuclear facilities in the wake of its experiences in both Iraq and North Korea.

Adelman argued that the possibility of IAEA inspectors detecting NPT violations through unannounced inspections is frequently oversold, but Holum said the existence of the NPT and associated international safeguards makes clandestine nuclear activities considerably less possible than in the past.