Saturday, May 1, 2010

US to push India, Pakistan to join NPT

UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations will open a conference on Monday to assess the implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), with the United States pledging to push all states that are not members of the Treaty, including India and Pakistan, to join it.
Israel, whose nuclear arsenal evokes no comments from the United States, is the third country, which has not signed the Treaty aimed at limiting atomic weapons.
The 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from May 3 to 28. The President-elect of the Review Conference is the Philippines UN Ambassador, Libran Cabactulan.
“The US has had a long-standing policy of supporting the universal adherence to the NPT,” Susan Burk, Special Representative of the President for nuclear non-proliferation, said, when asked whether the US will address the question of India and Pakistan’s absence from the NPT.
“And I am quite confident that the issue will be raised during the review conference, and there will be a desire to recommit the parties’ support for that,” she added.
The NPT Review Conference is held every five years to assess the progress to review the operation of the Treaty since the Treaty went into effect in 1970. Each conference has sought to find agreement on a final declaration that would assess the implementation of the Treaty’s provisions and make recommendations on measures to further strengthen it.
The NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to achieve the goal of nuclear disarmament. The NPT represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon states.
The last NPT Review Conference in 2005 was largely considered a failure because the members were unable to agree on all frontiers and became quagmires in lengthy quarrels about procedural issues.
“We all know that 2005 was an acknowledged failure,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told a group of UN-based correspondents on Wednesday. “We should not unrealistically (have) raised expectations this time.”
A total of 107 countries are inscribed to speak at the general debate of the Review Conference, which runs from Monday through Thursday, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be the second to speak on the first day of the general debate, according to a preliminary list of speakers. The first speaker will be the Indonesian Foreign Minister, who is to take the floor on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Iran can use the upcoming global gathering on disarmament to reassure other states of its peaceful nuclear intentions, Ambassador Cabactulan told reporters here Thursday, saying that the meeting offers an opportunity to really explore the limits of what is possible on disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy.
The Review Conference is taking place amid international concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme. The Iranian authorities hold that its activities are for peaceful purposes, while some western nations contend they are driven by military ambitions. In 2003 it was discovered that Iran had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the NPT.