"...the Arms Control Association [does] so much to keep the focus on the issues so important to everyone here, to hold our leaders accountable to inspire creative thinking and to press for change. So we are grateful for your leadership and for the unyielding dedication to global nuclear security."
– Lord Des Browne
Vice Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

The CTB Treaty: Signatories and Ratifiers

The Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty was opened for signature at the United Nations on September 24, 1996. On that day, 71 countries, including all five of the declared nuclear-weapon states, signed the treaty. As of October 31, 1998, 151 states have signed and 21 have ratified the treaty.

The CTB Treaty will formally enter into force 180 days after 44 designated states have deposited their instruments of ratification with the secretary-general of the United Nations. These 44 states include the five declared nuclear-weapon states, India, Israel, Pakistan and 36 other states that are participating members of the Conference on Disarmament and recognized by the International Atomic Energy Agency as possessing nuclear power and/or research reactors.

Of the 44 states that must deposit instruments of ratification for formal entry into force, 41 (identified in bold in the roster below) have signed the treaty. The other three states are India, Pakistan (both of which have indicated they will sign by September 1999) and North Korea. The list below identifies the states that have signed and ratified (ratifiers are identified in italics) the CTB Treaty as of October 31, 1998.

Country Signature
Albania 9/27/96
Algeria 10/15/96
Andorra 9/24/96
Angola 9/27/96
Antigua and Barbuda 4/16/97
Argentina 9/24/96
Armenia 10/1/96
Australia 9/24/96

(Ratified 7/9/98)

Austria 9/24/96

(Ratified 3/13/98)

Azerbaijan 7/28/97
Bahrain 9/24/96
Bangladesh 10/24/96
Belarus 9/24/96
Belgium 9/24/96
Benin 9/27/96
Bolivia 9/24/96
Country Signature
Bosnia and Herzegovina 9/24/96
Brazil 9/24/96

(Ratified 7/24/98)

Brunei Darussalem 1/22/97
Bulgaria 9/24/96
Burkina Faso 9/27/96
Burundi 9/24/96
Cambodia 9/26/96
Canada 9/24/96
Cape Verde 10/1/96
Chad 10/8/96
Chile 9/24/96
China 9/24/96
Colombia 9/24/96
Comoros 12/12/96
Congo 2/11/97
Congo Republic1 10/4/96
Cook Islands 12/5/97
Costa Rica 9/24/96
Cote d'Ivoire 9/25/96
Croatia 9/24/96
Cyprus 9/24/96
Czech Republic 11/12/96

(Ratified 9/11/97)

Denmark 9/24/96
Djibouti 10/21/96
Dominican Republic 10/3/96
Ecuador 9/24/96
Egypt 10/14/96
El Salvador 9/24/96

(Ratified 9/11/98)

Equatorial Guinea 10/9/96
Estonia 11/20/96
Ethiopia 9/25/96
Country Signature
Fiji 9/24/96

(Ratified 10/10/96)

Finland 9/24/96
France 9/24/96

(Ratified 4/6/98)

Gabon 10/7/96
Georgia 9/24/96
Germany 9/24/96

(Ratified 8/20/98)

Ghana 10/3/96
Greece 9/24/96
Grenada 10/10/96

(Ratified 8/19/98)

Guinea 10/3/96
Guinea-Bissau 4/11/97
Haiti 9/24/96
Holy See 9/24/96
Honduras 9/25/96
Hungary 9/25/96
Iceland 9/24/96
Indonesia 9/24/96
Iran 9/24/96
Ireland 9/24/96
Israel 9/25/96
Italy 9/24/96
Jamaica 11/11/96
Japan 9/24/96

(Ratified 7/8/97)

Jordan 9/26/96

(Ratified 8/25/98)

Kazakhstan 9/30/96
Kenya 11/14/96
Kuwait 9/24/96
Kyrgyzstan 10/8/96
Laos 7/30/97
Country Signature
Latvia 9/24/96
Lesotho 9/30/96
Liberia 10/1/96
Liechtenstein 9/27/96
Lithuania 10/7/96
Luxembourg 9/24/96
Macedonia 10/29/98
Madagascar 10/9/96
Malawi 10/9/96
Malaysia 7/23/98
Maldives 10/1/97
Mali 2/18/97
Malta 9/24/96
Marshall Islands 9/24/96
Mauritania 9/24/96
Mexico 9/24/96
Micronesia 9/24/96

(Ratified 7/25/97)

Moldova 9/24/97
Monaco 10/1/96
Mongolia 10/1/96

(Ratified 8/8/97)

Morocco 9/24/96
Mozambique 9/26/96
Myanmar (Burma) 11/25/96
Namibia 9/24/96
Nepal 10/8/96
Netherlands 9/24/96
New Zealand 9/27/96
Nicaragua 9/24/96
Niger 10/3/96
Norway 9/24/96
Panama 9/24/96
Country Signature
Papua New Guinea 9/25/96
Paraguay 9/25/96
Peru 9/25/96

(Ratified 11/12/97)

Philippines 9/24/96
Poland 9/24/96
Portugal 9/24/96
Qatar 9/24/96

(Ratified 3/3/97)

Romania 9/24/96
Russia 9/24/96
Saint Lucia 10/4/96
Samoa 10/9/96
San Marino 10/7/96
Sao Tome and Principe 9/26/96
Senegal 9/26/96
Seychelles 9/24/96
Slovakia 9/30/96

(Ratified 3/3/98)

Slovenia 9/24/96
Solomon Islands 10/3/96
South Africa 9/24/96
South Korea 9/24/96
Spain 9/24/96

(Ratified 7/31/98)

Sri Lanka 10/24/96
Suriname 1/14/97
Swaziland 9/24/96
Sweden 9/24/96
Switzerland 9/24/96
Tajikistan 10/7/96

(Ratified 6/10/98)

Thailand 11/12/96
Togo 10/2/96
Country Signature
Tunisia 10/16/96
Turkey 9/24/96
Turkmenistan 9/24/96

(Ratified 2/20/98)

Uganda 11/7/96
Ukraine 9/27/96
United Arab Emirates 9/25/96
United Kingdom 9/24/96

(Ratified 4/6/98)

United States 9/24/96
Uruguay 9/24/96
Uzbekistan 10/3/96

(Ratified 5/29/97)

Vanuatu 9/24/96
Venezuela 10/3/96
Vietnam 9/24/96
Yemen 9/30/96
Zambia 12/3/96

1. The Democratic Republic of The Congo, formerly Zaire. [Back to table]

Sources: UN, ACDA, and ACA.


Brazil Moves to Join CTBT, NPT

June/July 1998

Brazil deposited its instrument of ratification for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) on July 24 and the Brazilian legislature ratified the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) on July 13. Brazil is expected to formally deposit its instrument of accession for the NPT in the next few weeks.

Brazil is among the 44 states whose ratification is required for the CTBT's entry into force. Eight other such states (Australia, Austria, Britain, France, Japan, Peru, Slovakia and Spain) have already deposited their instruments of ratification. As of the end of July, the CTBT has been signed by 150 states and ratified by 17.

Brazil will become the 186th state to accede to the NPT, leaving only four states (Cuba, India, Israel and Pakistan) outside of the regime.

Brazil Moves to Join CTBT, NPT 

South Asia and the Future of Nuclear Nonproliferation

May 1998

By Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr.

The recent nuclear tests in South Asia have dealt a serious blow to international efforts to prevent the further spread of weapons of mass destruction. In declaring themselves nuclear-weapon states, India and Pakistan have openly challenged the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in which the international community agreed that there should be no more nuclear-weapon states beyond the five that had tested prior to 1967: the United States, the Soviet Union (now Russia), Britain, France and China. Unless concerted actions are undertaken promptly to begin to reverse this situation, these developments could seriously undercut the nuclear non-proliferation regime. ..


The NPT Bargain

In the 1960s, it was widely predicted that there would be 25-30 declared nuclear-weapon states in the world by the end of the 1970s. Who knows how high that number might have reached by today? In an effort to had off this possibility, the world agreed in the NPT to a bargain to put a halt to the proliferation of nuclear-weapon states. In return for the pledge by the 181 non-nuclear-weapon signatories (including Taiwan) that they would never acquire nuclear weapons, the five nuclear-weapon states agreed not to help other states acquire nuclear weapons, to share the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology with all the parties and to work toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.

In identifying those five countries as nuclear-weapon states, the NPT does not indefinitely legitimize their nuclear arsenals. The NPT simply acknowledges the fact that when it was negotiated, nuclear proliferation had occurred in five countries. The treaty commits all 185 states-parties to prevent proliferation from occurring anywhere else. The fact that there were five nuclearweapon states before the world took action is a matter of historical circumstance, not special privilege. In balancing obligations between nuclearweapon and non-nuclear-weapon states, the NPT makes all parties equal partners in the quest to escape the threat of nuclear weapons. It establishes a regime in which states like South Africa, Egypt, Indonesia and Mexico play important roles in protecting the security of all states by actively participating in efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

Since the NPT was opened for signature on July 1, 1968, a number of states have voluntarily turned away from possession of nuclear weapons. Argentina and Brazil agreed to put aside their nuclear weapon objectives; both now have fullscope safeguards on their nuclear activities and Argentina has joined the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon state. Political change in South Africa led to the dismantlement of that country's former nuclear weapons program. Subsequently, South Africa not only joined the NPT as a nonnuclearweapon state, but it also played a leadership role at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference in rallying the developing world behind making the treaty permanent. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, strenuous multilateral efforts and extended parliamentary consideration led Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine to give up the former Soviet nuclear weapons on their territories and become non-nuclear-weapon states under the treaty. The NPT provided a means to deal with North Korea's interest in acquiring nuclear weapons. And it is the NPT that provides for international inspections of nuclear activities in that country as in most of the countries of the world.

Despite these successes, three threshold states—India, Israel and Pakistan—have not signed the NPT, and operate nuclear facilities that are not subject to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections that are required of all the non-nuclear-weapon states. But none of them had previously overtly challenged the NPT regime by claiming to be a nuclear-weapon state. While it had conducted one nuclear explosive test in 1974, India was careful to characterize it as a "peaceful nuclear explosion" and to claim it had not weaponized. Thus, despite the Indian test and the refusal of India, Israel and Pakistan to join the treaty, an international norm of behavior developed establishing that: the number of nuclear-weapon states, as defined by international agreement, would remain at five; that all other parties would be pledged to not acquire nuclear weapons; and that three states in an ambiguous status would be tolerated outside the NPT regime.

With its five nuclear weapon tests of May 11 and 13, India diverted from its great internationalist tradition and violated the global norm based on the NPT that had evolved since the treaty entered into force in 1970. Under the circumstances, the six Pakistani tests of May 28 and 30 were not surprising. They were, however, an ill omen for what may lie ahead for the NPT regime. Nuclear explosive testing by other states could well be provoked by the reckless behavior of India. For example, by damaging the international non-proliferation regime, the tests opened the door to similar action by Israel and to the pursuit of nuclear weapons capability by other states such as North Korea.

Clearly, if the decisions of India and Pakistan to become the first and second nations to declare a nuclear weapons capability in three decades are not resisted by the international community, and eventually reversed, other nations may decide to follow suit. The acquisition of nuclear weapons will be viewed as a legitimate way to increase national prestige, and the world may begin to race down the path toward widespread nuclear proliferation that was narrowly averted in the 1960s. More frightening still, in a world filled with nuclear-weapon states, keeping these weapons out of the hands of substate groups, including criminal conspiracies, terrorist organizations and nihilistic cults, will become much more difficult.

Some observers of the recent events in South Asia have been inclined to underestimate the threat the Indian and Pakistani nuclear weapon programs constitute to the global norm against nuclear proliferation. It is true that India and Pakistan have been commonly understood to be on the threshold of a nuclear weapons capability for some time and that neither is a signatory to the NPT. But the NPT is a lot more than just a contract. Along with the UN Charter, the NPT, with 185 states-parties, is a central document of international law and the foundation of efforts at negotiated security in the nuclear age.

The NPT codifies a central element of the modern social contract of the community of nations. In overtly acquiring nuclear weapons, India and Pakistan have defied this international compact and endangered the security of all.


Challenging the NPT

The nuclear explosive tests by the two countries in May and their subsequent claims of acquiring nuclearweapon state status did a lot more than merely make the obvious undeniable: In demanding to be identified as nuclearweapon states, India and Pakistan directly challenge the definition of the term and thereby the NPT itself. Article IX of the NPT defines a nuclear-weapon state as follows:

For the purposes of this Treaty, a nuclearweapon state is one which has manufactured and exploded a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device prior to January 1, 1967. [Emphasis added.]

.. This is not a semantic or marginal issue. The whole point of the NPT is that the international community agreed that the number of nuclearweapon states should be limited to the five that possessed nuclear weapons when the treaty was signed and exclude all others. The principle of international law that the NPT codifies is that the further spread of nuclear weapons (after January 1, 1967) is contrary to the interests of world peace and security. The regime requires the continued credibility of this definition. When the NPT was signed, a line was drawn by the world community that was not overtly crossed for 30 years. In 1998, that line has been crossed twice and substantially challenged. If the line goes away, the world community is unlikely to be able to draw another one soon, if at all.

The NPT regime cannot be modified to accommodate India and Pakistan as nuclear-weapon states for several reasons. Most imprtantly, if India and Pakistan were to succeed in having this status formally recognized, the NPT and the nonproliferation regime which has developed around it, which, after all, exists to limit the number of states with nuclear weapons in the world, would become moot. If there can be six or seven nuclearweapon states, why not eight or 80? If the international norm can be bent to include India and Pakistan, on what basis would the acquisition of nuclear weapons be denied to any nation? In short, formal recognition of India and Pakistan as "declared" nuclear powers would undermine the NPT and its delicate bargain between the nonnuclear and nuclearweapon states and leave all equal in their insecurity.

Even if it were desirable to accept India and Pakistan as nuclear-weapon states party to the NPT, this would require amendment of the treaty and that is practically impossible for issues of any substance. A conference of parties would have to be convened to consider the amendment. A majority of all the parties, including the five nuclear-weapon states and all 35 members of the current IAEA Board of Governors, would have to approve the amendment. Even if all the amendment conditions could be met, the amendment would only enter into force for each party after ratification by its government. The treaty itself would not be fully in force for all statesparties as amended until it was approved by all 185 governments.


Maximizing Instability

Some have suggested that nuclear weapons may stabilize relations between India and Pakistan. But there are several reasons India and Pakistan are unlikely to be able to develop a stable deterrent relationship like the one that existed between the United States and the former Soviet Union.

First, the U.S.Soviet relationship developed over time in a confrontational but not an incendiary atmosphere. At the beginning of the nuclear age, there were only a few, large atomic weapons and no missile delivery systems. The peak Cold War arsenals with longrange missiles and multiple, compact warhead systems evolved during the next four decades.

Second, the United States and the Soviet Union had been allies in World War II, immediately preceding the Cold War. India and Pakistan have fought three wars with each other since their independence in 1947 and are still in the midst of an unresolved conflict over Kashmir.

Third, the force postures of the United States and the former Soviet Union were more conducive to stability than those of India and Pakistan could ever be. Both the United States and Russia maintain massive command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I) infrastructures that include a range of stabilityenhancing capabilities like satellites for early warning of an attack, hardened command posts and invulnerable secondstrike systems like nuclear ballistic missile submarines. Without any of these critical technical adjuncts to the mutual assured destruction condition, India and Pakistan now find themselves in a situation in which a missile launched by one side would almost certainly strike its target before the leadership of the other side could be made aware of the launch (assuming it was detected at all). This fact will push both sides to maintain precarious alert postures and thrust them into a dangerous "use or lose" strategy if their deployed nuclear weapons are as vulnerable as they inevitably will be.

Finally, the world has been incredibly fortunate that no unforseen circumstance led to the accidental or unauthorized use of a nuclear weapon during the Cold War. In this sense, humanity now has the chance to lessen this risk by reducing the over-armament of the Cold War. To its discredit, India has chosen to heighten this risk by starting another nuclear arms race; that humanity survived one is no reason to believe that another will pass as peacefully.


Maximizing Stability

Clearly the international community, if it wishes to preserve the nonproliferation regime as an international norm, must respond to the challenge posed by nuclear explosive testing on the subcontinent. Until a commitment is offered by India and Pakistan to adopt the stabilizing measures set forth below, sanctions must remain in force. They are important to demonstrate the international community's resolve to oppose nuclear proliferation, to show that states do not enhance their prestige by building nuclear weapons, and to show other states that there are negative consequences to following the Indian and Pakistani example.

The international community must try to convince India and Pakistan to agree to a number of stabilizing measures: not to weaponize or, as appropriate, to de-weaponize and not to deploy nuclear weapons; not to transfer nuclear technology; to cease testing and to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) without conditions; and to negotiate a cutoff in the production of fissile materials for weapons purposes. In the longer term, the international community should insist that India and Pakistan join the NPT as nonnuclearweapon states (as South Africa did) if they wish to be fully participating members of the community of nations. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was correct in insisting on CTBT signature and adherence to the NPT as important goals for U.S. policy toward both India and Pakistan.

In reality, the economic sanctions that the United States is required to impose on India and Pakistan are unlikely to be sufficient to convince them to roll back their nuclear weapons programs. Possession of nuclear weapons has overwhelming political support in both countries. If India and Pakistan are willing to pursue the statesmanlike course and agree to non-weaponization and non-deployment—and ultimately join the NPT—they must be rewarded by more than simply the lifting of sanctions. For example, if the permanent membership of the UN Security Council is expanded by the addition of states like Germany and Japan, then India, if it were to become a non-nuclear-weapon state party to the NPT, should be considered as well.

The South Asian challenge to the NPT regime will need to be met with resolve, not only to demonstrate to the offenders that nuclear proliferation has defined them as being outside of the community of responsible nations, but also to demonstrate the continued viability of the NPT regime and the disarmament process from which that regime is indistinguishable. At the same time, as the international community presses India and Pakistan to agree not to deploy, test or proliferate, the five nuclear-weapon states should recommit themselves to the fulfillment of their nuclear disarmament obligations under Article VI of the NPT. This would reinforce their efforts to encourage India and Pakistan to reverse their dangerous course of action.

To this end, the U.S. Senate should promptly approve the CTBT to strengthen the consensus against nuclear testing. The United States cannot insist that India and Pakistan do something that it is not prepared itself to do. Early ratification of the CTBT, which as not yet entered into force, by all the nuclear-weapon states is an important step toward reducing the exaggerated political value of nuclear weapons. U.S. leadership will be necessary to bring this about. China and Russia must also approve the CTBT, but they are clearly awaiting U.S. action.

There is, however, more that the nuclear-weapon states must do to reduce the perceived prestige and high political value of nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia should vigorously pursue the START reduction process and reduce their arsenals as soon as practicable to 1,000 total nuclear weapons each, as opposed to 3,500 strategic weapons each under START II and 2,000-2,500 contemplated under START III. Promptly thereafter, the other three nuclearweapon states, Britain France and China, should be drawn into negotiations aimed over the next 10-15 years at a residual level of 200-300 total weapons for the United States and Russia (and less for the other three) until the world has changed sufficiently for the ultimate abolition of nuclear weapons to be possible. The United States should support a "no-first-use" policy with regard to nuclear weapons among the five nuclear-weapon states. Continuing the reduction process and abandoning the right to use nuclear weapons—except in response to their use by another nation—are prudent and timely objectives which will help diminish the perceived value of nuclear weapons and are essential to the long-term success of the NPT regime.

Contrary to the statements of some pundits, the national security of the United States is not based on nuclear weapons, but rather on the overwhelming superiority of U.S. conventional forces. Proliferation of nuclear weapons to additional states only serves to nullify that superiority. The worst thing the United States could do at this juncture would be to turn its back on the NPT and the disarmament process as a result of recent events on the subcontinent. The world cannot allow states out of step with the times to derail the positive trends of recent years. India and Pakistan should not be allowed to dictate the national security policy of the United States or the fate of world security.


CTBT Entry Into Force

It is important that the CTBT enter into force as soon as possible to support the international community's call for a halt to further nuclear explosive testing in India and Pakistan. The world community must be prepared to proceed with treaty implementation with or without the cooperation of South Asia. Article XIV of the CTBT provides the legal mechanism for entry into force, which requires the ratification of the treaty by 44 specific states, including the five nuclear-weapon states, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea, among others. However, if these 44 states have not ratified the treaty by September 24, 1999, the states that have ratified can meet in a conference to determine measures, consistent with international law, which will accelerate the ratification process and facilitate the treaty's early entry into force.

The CTBT, which was signed in 1996, is a promissory note from the nuclear-weapon states that stands in place of their fulfillment of one of the most important demands of the non-nuclear-weapon states at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference. The "Principles and Objectives for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation," agreed to as an integral part of the treaty's indefinite extension, explicitly links the CTBT to the NPT regime:

The completion by the Conference on Disarmament of the negotiations on a universal and internationally and effectively verifiable Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty no later than 1996; Pending the entry into force of a Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty, the nuclear-weapon States should exercise utmost restraint;

Without a legally binding CTBT regime in force, the NPT will be in danger at the treaty's next review conference in 2000. If India and Pakistan refuse to sign and ratify the CTBT, the international community will be forced to respond by bringing the CTBT into force without South Asia.

A precedent exists for bringing arms control treaties into legal application without strict fulfillment of entry into force requirements. The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty was provisionally applied in July 1992 when unrelated circumstances prevented its timely ratification by three signatories. The July 1992 deadline for entry into force was considered important because of the impending breakup of the former Czechoslovakia, a CFE signatory that had ratified. The entry-into-force provision required all the then 29 signatories to ratify to bring the treaty into force. By July, 27 of the 29 signatories had ratified but two legislatures, those of Belarus and Armenia, were unable to act. Therefore, by amending the Provisional Application Protocol, which was designed to permit the signatories to agree to certain treaty housekeeping measures prior to entry into force without reference to national parliaments, the signatories brought the entire treaty into force for a period of four months without further reference to national legislatures. This was done to give the two legislatures more time to act and to permit the baseline inspections to be carried out. If more time had been required, undoubtedly provisional application would have been extended. The delegates to the potential CTBT conference in 1999 will have the benefit of this example.

At the end of the day, the signatories to and ratifiers of the CTBT are sovereign states that will act in their own best interest. If at the time of the 1999 conference, a large number of states have ratified the CTBT—including the five nuclear-weapon states, but without India, Pakistan and North Korea—the signatories nevertheless may wish to consider bringing the treaty into force.

The purpose of the conference, as the CTBT's negotiating record makes clear, is only to discuss measures to facilitate early entry into force. However, these are sovereign states and they do have the power to bring the treaty into force among themselves. They can do it one of two ways. They could agree on a protocol that brings the treaty into force notwithstanding the terms of Article XIV. This would be, in effect, an amendment to the treaty which would require submission of the document to all the relevant legislatures. Alternatively, the signatories could agree to provisionally apply the treaty among themselves without reference to legislatures simply by signing an agreement to do so. In sum, if the treaty signatories want the CTBT in force—and they should as it is essential to sustaining the NPT regime—and India, Pakistan, and North Korea are reluctant, a way can be found among sovereign states to do so.

The world must persuade India and Pakistan that the international community intends to enforce a nonproliferation norm through sanctions and isolation, if necessary. The point of sanctions is to demonstrate to India and Pakistan, and to any other nations that may be tempted to follow their example, that nuclear weapons will gain them only insecurity and opprobrium, not security and respect.

At the same time, the world must show India and Pakistan that it is prepared to help craft a nondeployment, nontesting and nonproliferation regime to stabilize the situation on the subcontinent, and to help India and Pakistan take their rightful place on the world stage as non-nuclear-weapon states. To succeed in this endeavor, the declared nuclear-weapon states must continue to reduce their nuclear arsenals and formalize the nuclear testing moratorium by bringing the CTBT into force. Clearly, the United States and the other major powers face a daunting task, but the alternatives lead to infinitely worse outcomes and diminished security for the United States and the world.


Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr., former acting director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, is the president of the Lawyers Alliance for World Security in Washington, DC.

South Asia and the Future of Nuclear Nonproliferation

Letter to the Editor: Moving Toward 'Legally Binding' Negative Security Assurances

To the Editor:

In his recent remarks to the Arms Control Association members' annual luncheon (See ACT, January/February 1998), Robert Bell, National Security Council senior director for defense policy and arms control, treated U.S. promises not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states as if they were legally binding commitments rather than politically binding declarations, as concluded earlier by State Department lawyers. From the point of view of many non-nuclear-weapon states, this should be a welcome response to their long-standing request for such so-called negative security assurances from the five declared nuclear-weapon states.

According to Bell, President Clinton's November 1997 presidential decision directive (PDD) on nuclear policy "reaffirmed" the negative security assurance that was given by the United States in 1995 just before the indefinite extension of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). That pledge stated:

The United States reaffirms that it will not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States Parties to the [NPT] except in the case of an invasion or any other attack on the United States, its territories, its armed forces or other troops, its allies, or on a State toward which it has a security commitment, carried out or sustained by such a non-nuclear-weapon State in association or alliance with a nuclear-weapon State.

Bell also said this U.S. policy was "codified in a UN Security Council resolution" [Resolution 984/1995] that referred to the pledges made by the United States and the other four nuclear-weapon states that are NPT arties.

As a result of this promise, Bell said:

[I]t is the policy of the United States, as restated in this PDD, not to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict unless [first] the state attacking us or our allies or our military forces is nuclear-capable, or [second] not in good standing under the NPT or an equivalent regime [such as a nuclear-weapon-free zone], or third, is attacking us in alliance with a nuclear capability, [that is, in alliance with Britain, China, France, Russia or a nuclear-capable "threshold" state such as India, Israel or Pakistan].

The first exception relates to the four other nuclear-weapon states as well as the three nuclear-capable "threshold" states. The second exception pertains to Iraq and North Korea, for example, until they bring themselves back into compliance with the NPT; they will be covered by the U.S. promise if and when they are again non-nuclear-weapon NPT parties in good standing. The third exception is, of course, what is explicitly stated in the 1995 pledge itself. Thus, all the exceptions are consistent with the U.S. promise. Importantly, Bell did not include another exception: response to an attack with chemical or biological weapons by a non-nuclear-weapon state in good standing as an NPT party. The debate on that contentious issue within the administration was apparently resolved by the president in the PDD by limiting the exceptions to the three listed by Bell.

Recognizing the U.S. promise as "codified" by the Security Council and insisting that there are only these three exceptions, Bell's statement suggests that the administration has now accepted that the U.S. promise is, for practical purposes, legally binding. This is consistent with what the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concluded in its 1996 advisory opinion on the legality of the use or threatened use of nuclear weapons. While deciding by the narrowest of majorities that nuclear weapons use was generally illegal, the judges were unable to agree that nuclear use would be illegal by a nation facing extinction from an armed attack. In its opinion, the Court referred to the negative security promises of the nuclear-weapon states to non-weapon members of the NPT and of nuclear-weapon-free zones.

The court concluded unanimously that any threat or use of nuclear weapons "should...be compatible with the requirements of international law applicable in armed conflict...as well as with specific obligations under treaties and other undertakings which expressly deal with nuclear weapons." From earlier paragraphs of the opinion, it is clear that, by "treaties and other undertakings," the court referred to nuclear-weapon-free-zone treaties and to the NPT negative security assurances. Though the court used the word "should" to describe the nature of the responsibility to comply, it used the same word to describe that responsibility with respect to obligations it characterized as "international law" and "treaties." They are without doubt legally binding. The court must have meant that the NPT negative assurances should also be regarded as legally binding.

Although the avowed nuclear-weapon states (except for China) have been unwilling to put their non-use promises to the NPT non-weapon parties in treaty form, they have been willing to sign such treaty commitments to parties to most nuclear-weapon-free-zone treaties. At the 1995 NPT review and extension conference, this difference produced compromise language in the "Principles and Objectives for Non-Proliferation and Disarmament" decision adopted by the conference. After noting the security assurances gien by the five nuclear-weapon states and UN Security Council Resolution 984, the NPT conferees agreed that "further steps should be considered to assure the non-nuclear-weapon States party to the [NPT] against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. These steps could take the form of an internationally legally binding instrument."

At the Geneva Conference on Disarmament (CD) and at various NPT review conferences, the issue of making the negative security assurances "legally binding" has long been debated. On March 26, the CD finally agreed to establish an ad hoc committee to negotiate a negative security assurances treaty. However, the chances of reaching agreement at the CD on such a treaty are low. This is because CD action requires unanimity of the conference participants, because India and Pakistan will not agree to any treaty which excludes them from the protection of its assurances, and because many NPT parties at the CD oppose giving India and Pakistan such protection until they join the NPT—which they have refused to do for almost 40 years. Given the slim chance of CD agreement on a treaty, the Clinton administration is to be commended for giving greater clarity and effect to U.S. assurances to non-nuclear-weapon NPT members. The administration has thus moved toward satisfying the 1995 promise that was part of the quid pro quo for extending the NPT indefinitely—to consider "further steps" toward "legally binding" negative security assurances.

George Bunn, Consulting Professor, Stanford Center for International Security and Arms Control


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The CTB Treaty and Nuclear Non-Proliferation: The Debate Continues - Kathleen C. Bailey

The Testimony of Kathleen C. Bailey

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you and members of the subcommittee to address the relationship between the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The views I express today are my own and not necessarily those of any institution.

Let me start with my conclusion, which is that the CTB fails the cost-benefit test. Specifically, it will not accomplish the nonproliferation goals as set out for it by the administration and, at the same time, the treaty will seriously degrade the U.S. nuclear deterrent and, thus, will have a high national security cost. I would like to take each of the five principal non-proliferation goals as set out by the administration for the CTB and give you the bottom-line conclusion that I have made about them.

Goal number one that I will discuss is that the CTB is alleged to constrain nuclear proliferation. The CTB will not meaningfully constrain nations that want to acquire a workable nuclear weapons design. A state that wants to produce a nuclear weapon can do so without nuclear testing. As acknowledged by the two previous speakers, the Hiroshima bomb as well as South Africa's arsenal were untested devices.

Furthermore, non-boosted, implosion-type weapons may be designed with high confidence, without testing.

Testing is not essential today as it was in past for proliferating nations because the information related to nuclear weapons is now widespread. University courses, the information superhighway, advanced computers, new materials, and production technologies—all of these enable a nation to design with high confidence a weapon that would in the not-so-distant past have been considered relatively sophisticated.


The 'Unconventional' Needs of Proliferators

Now, critics may argue that new proliferators would want to test a device design, just as the United States usually does, before stockpiling it. However, there are important differences between proliferators' needs, perspectives and targeting requirements versus those of the United States and Russia.

During the Cold War, both sides focused on targeting one another's military sites. A premier objective has been pinpoint strikes against small targets such as silos, rather than cities. This dictated high-performance delivery systems, which, in turn, required tight parameters on the allowable weight, size, shape, safetymeasures and yield.

Now, by comparison, proliferant nations are not likely to target silos. Instead, they are likely to target cities. Their delivery vehicles may be ships, boats, trucks or Scud-type missiles. Proliferators may not care whether the yield they obtain is exact. They may not have tight restrictions imposed by advanced delivery systems or safety standards like those that we and Russia have. And they are unlikely to have highly complex weapons designs. Furthermore, proliferators may have an entirely different standard for reliability. All of this boils down to one thing: It is quite feasible for a nation to develop a device that will work as long as it does not matter if the yield is exactly known and there are no exacting specifications which must be met.


Challenges to the NPT

Goal number two is to save the non-proliferation regime. I contend that the Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT] is at risk and ratification of the CTB will not save the NPT. There are at least three major challenges to the NPT which threaten to unravel it: the demand for a timetable for "zero" nuclear weapons; growing dissatisfaction with U.S. technology transfer restrictions; and erosion of the NPT's contribution to security.

Now, I have outlined in detail all three of these in my written testimony, but verbally I will address only one of them now.

A contradiction exists, as Spurgeon Keeny pointed out, in that the nuclear-weapon states pledged in the NPT that they would work in good faith toward total nuclear disarmament. Simultaneously, however, the nuclear-weapon states have continued to rely on nuclear deterrence for security, and they have said that disarmament is a long-term rather than near-term goal.

At the NPT Review and Extension Conference of 1995, the U.S. and others agreed to negotiate a CTB, touting it as a step toward total nuclear disarmament. Now, however, NPT parties are in the process of discovering that the CTB does not constitute a step toward disarmament that they had thought it was. This is because nuclear-weapon states are not by any means abandoning nuclear deterrence but are instead taking steps to assure that their stockpiles will remain safe and reliable and, therefore, usable despite the testing ban. The U.S. stockpile stewardship program is designed to defeat nuclear erosion. Thus, the goal set for the CTB by many nations is effectively undermined by a successful stockpile stewardship program.

It is the dependence of the nuclear-weapon states on deterrence, despite the NPT commitment to disarmament, that is the source of greatest danger to the non-proliferation treaty, and this conflict will persist regardless of whether the CTB is ratified by the United States or not.

Goal number three, establishing an international norm, I will also gloss over fairly briefly because I view it as pretty inconsequential. History is replete with examples when norms and even legally binding treaties, which are a much stronger constraint, have failed to inhibit nations. For example, the Biological Weapons Convention set up an international norm against biological weapons production, possession, and use, but we have two examples today of nations that we know are pursuing and have in their hands biological weapons. One is Iraq; the other is Russia. And we don't know how many others. So international norms come and go without much effect.

Let's turn to goal number four. The administration has declared that the CTB is effectively verifiable. Let me define what I mean by effective verifcation, and I think it is a generally accepted definition. It means "high confidence that militarily significant cheating will be detected in a timely manner." In the case of the CTB, of course, this would mean that you are highly confident that you will be able to detect within hours or a few days of the event any nuclear testing which will provide the tester with militarily significant information.


Evading the Test Ban

Now, there are two questions that we need to answer in looking at the CTB. First: What yield nuclear test gives the tester militarily significant information? The second question is: Can the CTB verification system detect to that level?

Now, I have taken the conservative approach and said that the basic cutoff point of militarily useful testing is 500 tons, and I selected that number because of the attachment that you will see in my testimony. This table was put together in 1995 by the three nuclear weapons laboratories for presentation to the administration to explain why our nuclear weapons designers would like to be able to continue testing at a level of 500 tons under the CTB. We assume for the sake of argument that a very low number, 500 tons—or it could, of course, be 10 kilotons or some other higher number—is militarily useful. The International Monitoring System of the CTB is expected to provide the ability to detect, locate and identify non-evasive testing of 1 kiloton or greater. Thus, it is clear that the monitoring system will not be able to detect 500 tons or more, up to a kiloton.

However—and this is a very important point—a nation may conduct nuclear tests evasively which would allow several kilotons to be tested with little or no risk of detection. One method by which this might be done is decoupling—that is, detonation of the device in a cavity that can reduce the seismic signal by as much as a factor of 70. This means, for example, that a kiloton explosion would be made to look seismically like a 14-ton explosion fully coupled. A 10-kiloton explosion would look only like a 0.14-kiloton explosion.

Let me give an interesting example. The United States conducted two nuclear tests in the Tatum salt dome located at Chilton, Mississippi. "Sterling," the test conducted on December 3, 1966, had a yield of 380 tons, but the apparent seismic yield was only 5.3 tons. Thus, you can see that the salt dome decoupling effect made the test look much, much smaller.

Now, in his testimony, John Holum said that decoupling was a sophisticated measure, that it would be difficult for countries to achieve. That is patently untrue. I would like to quote from a document that I got recently—an unclassified intelligence community report. It says, "The decoupling scenario is credible for many countries for at least two reasons: first, the worldwide mining and petroleum literature indicates that construction of large cavities in both hard rock and salt is feasible, with costs that would be relatively small compared to those required for the production of a nuclear device; second, literature and symposia indicate that containment of particulate and gaseous debris is feasible in both salt and hard rock."

So I would suggest to you that decoupling is not a terribly big challenge and that it is quite a feasible scenario.

However, let's assume that the country is unable to get a large cavity and is not able to decouple its device. What could it do? Well, I would suggest that one of the easiest things to do would be to put the device that it wanted to test on a barg, send it out to the ocean, let the detonation occur, and wait for the International Monitoring System and The New York Times and CNN to tell them what the yield was. That test would be very difficult to attribute, and perhaps impossible.

So the bottom line is this comprehensive test ban is not effectively verifiable, and militarily significant testing can take place with very little or no risk of detection.


Nuclear Modernization

Let's turn now to goal five, which is constraining nuclear modernization. I would agree with administration officials who say that the CTB will constrain the United States and others from being able to modernize their nuclear weapons. But I would see this as a bad thing, not a good thing. Let me give you some examples of three instances in which we would need possibly to modernize our nuclear forces.

In one case, we might need to increase safety measures for our nuclear weapons. We cannot say what new technologies will be discovered in the future that would greatly enhance the safety of our nuclear weapons. It is like saying in 1949 we didn't know that airbags for automobiles would come along in the 1990s. Well, that technology was unknown then. The same kind of thing happens. Technology marches. You find out later that there is a new discovery that you could apply to an old problem of safety, and you need to be able to test to implement that.

Secondly, modernization may be needed for new requirements. We say that we don't have any current new requirements that would make us need a new device design or testing. But that might change. There may be emerging threats. For example, Desert Storm taught us that we need to be able to strike deeply buried targets such as hardened underground bunkers, and we modified the B-61-11 bomb. There may be future instances in which we would need to have a new or redesigned bomb.

There may be emerging defensive technologies. There may be a quantum leap somewhere in which Russia or some other nation may develop a technology that would render our weapons obsolete overnight, and we would need to be able to adjust our deterrent to meet that counterforce challenge.

We would also need to adjust new delivery systems. Years ago we didn't anticipate the global positioning system—the satellite system that enables pinpoint accuracy and that has revolutionized delivery systems. Well, what if there is a new discovery in the future that would enable us to have a more streamlined, lightweight, effective delivery system? If that is the case, we may need a new warhead to go with it. So we should not preclude U.S. ability to test should we need to change our nuclear arsenal.

I would like to raise here another consideration which is not mentioned by the administration and I think is terribly important, and that is that the CTB may actually promote nuclear proliferation. Nuclear testing has demonstrated to our allies, as well as to potential adversaries, that we have a strong commitment to our allies and that our nuclear deterrent is strong. Any decline in the confidence that we have or in our commitment to nuclear deterrence could signal to other nations that are now under our nuclear umbrella that we are not serious. And I would suggest to you that sophisticated nations—Japan, Germany, Italy, who knows which countries—would revisit whether or not they might need their own nuclear option in the future.


A High Cost for Limited Benefit

So the punchline is the CTB will not meaningfully accomplish the five non-proliferation goals set out for it. It won't stop nations from designing and deploying nuclear weapons. It will not save the NPT. It will not detect militarily significant cheating. And the international norm that it would create is essentially not meaningful.

Thus, the potential benefits of the CTB to nuclear non-proliferation are meager. On the other hand, the CTB will have a profound impact on the ability of the United States to assure that its nuclear weapons continue to be safe, reliable and effective. Ratifying the CTB will foreclose the ability of the United States to modernize its nuclear forces because U.S. compliance will be certain. So the limited political benefits of the CTB are vastly outweighed by the costs to national security.

I would like to take one moment to correct what I view are some omissions or errors in fact of statements that have been made here today. I will be very brief.

One is that it was stated that we have had no need for nuclear testing since the [U.S.] moratorium began in 1992. Sig Hecker, the former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, said in writing last fall that indeed there have been instances since 1992 that, had we not had a moratorium in effect, the U.S. technical community would have advised a nuclear test. That is the first point.

The second is Senator [John] Glenn [D-OH] pointed out that computers today are "able to replace testing." Laboratory directors have said that computers will not replace testing. Virtual reality cannot replace reality. More importantly, the head of the advanced supercomputer program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has said that the success of the [U.S. computing] initiative is uncertain and we won't know for quite some time whether or not the computer systems will perform as planned.

Finally, a question was asked whether or not other nations had honored moratoria in the past. The answer is "no," they have not. Not only did the Soviet Union break out of the moratorium, leaving us flat-footed in the 1958 to 1961 timeframe, but also, as former Secretary of Defense Perry testified before Congress in January of 1996, the current moratorium may have been broken by Russia. No further public details were given on that so I can't go beyond that, but it appears that there was suspicious activity then.

There are other factual difficulties, but I will stop now and turn to questions.

Thank you.

Kathleen C. Bailey, a senior fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, servied as assistant director for nonproliferation at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1987-1991) in the Bush administration.

Dhanapala to Head New UN Department

On January 14, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Sri Lankan Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala to head the newly re-established UN Department of Disarmament Affairs. Only weeks after his appointment, Annan selected Dhanapala to head the Special Group of diplomats overseeing inspection of Iraq's eight so-called presidential compounds, as agreed between Annan and Saddam Hussein February 23. (See page 30.) As UN undersecretary general for disarmament affairs, Dhanapala reports to Annan, but will be working under UN Special Commission head Ambassador Richard Butler during the inspection of the sites according to the new agreement.

Dhanapala, a long-time non-aligned movement participant in disarmament discussions who led the 1995 review conference which indefinitely extended the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and represented Sri Lanka at the Geneva Conference on Disarmament (CD), took up his post on February 1 amid expectations that his new role will help elevate multilateral disarmament at the United Nations. With a budget of about $13 million (of a UN total of $2.52billion), it is hoped that Dhanapala can breath new life into to several flagging areas of disarmament, including weapons of mass destruction, small arms and landmines.

The new department will be responsible for organizing the meetings of the Preparatory Committees (PrepComs) for several treaty review conferences, including the NPT, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention and the Convention on Conventional Weapons. Through the department, the UN Secretariat will now be more closely connected to a broad range of disarmament matters, including the expert groups on disarmament issues, the status of multilateral arms regulation agreements and the UN Register of Conventional Arms.

Brazil to Consider Joining the NPT

Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso submitted the nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) to the Brazilian congress for ratification on June 20, nearly 20 years after the treaty was opened for signature. Should Brazil accede to the NPT, only four nations (Cuba, India, Israel and Pakistan) would remain outside of the regime. In 1990, Brazil renounced the nuclear weapons program it had been pursuing since the 1970s, and, in 1991, it signed an agreement with Argentina to establish a bilateral nuclear accountancy and control system to verify that each state's nuclear activities would be for peaceful uses only.

Brazil followed Argentina in joining the Treaty of Tlatelolco (a nuclear-weapon-free-zone accord covering Latin America and the Caribbean) in May 1994, but continued to resist joining the NPT on the basis of the treaty's discrimination between nuclear "haves" and "have-nots." Argentina acceded to the NPT in 1995.

Neither house of Brazil's bicameral legislature is likely to act on the treaty before fall 1997. Currently in extraordinary session to conclude its normal business, neither the Chamber of Deputies nor the Senate has been able to include the treaty in its agenda. Little domestic opposition to the NPT is expected, since Brazil has already accepted the principle of nuclear nonproliferation through its bilateral agreement with Argentina and the Treaty of Tlatelolco.

IAEA Approves '93+2' Protocol; Awaits Adoption by Member-States


Howard Diamond

THE INTERNATIONAL Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors approved a program of enhanced nuclear safeguards during a special session in Vienna May 1516, the first major expansion of the agency's monitoring and inspection powers in 25 years. The new measures are embodied in a model protocol that will need to be adopted by each of the 131 states (along with Taiwan) that has a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA. The protocol will substantially expand IAEA access to information and facilities, thereby improving the agency's ability to verify that non-nuclear-weapon states that are parties to the nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) are not conducting clandestine nuclear weapons programs.

The new protocol represents the second part of the IAEA's "Program 93+2," initiated in 1993 as a result of the confirmation in 1991 that Iraq—an NPT signatory—had been clandestinely pursuing a nuclear weapons program by utilizing undeclared facilities not covered by existing safeguards. The name "93+2" refers to the initial goal of completing a plan of action in two years, in time for the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference.

The IAEA began implementing Part 1 of Program 93+2 in January 1996, by adopting new monitoring techniques (such as environmental sampling and use of no-notice inspections at key measurement points within declared nuclear facilities) that did not require any new legal authority for their implementation. Some methods for analysis and monitoring, field tested during Part 1, have subsequently been incorporated into Part 2, which aims to close the undeclared facilities loophole. The agency determined that Part 2 would require the addition of a protocol to current safeguards agreements. The IAEA has said it anticipates the program will lead to "more cost-effective use of its safeguards resources."


The Model Protocol

Incorporating lessons learned in Iraq and North Korea, the new protocol represents a significant expansion of the scope of IAEA safeguards from a narrow focus on detecting the misuse of declared facilities or diversion of declared material, to broad oversight of the totality of a nation's nuclear activities. Specifically, the protocol makes four major changes that will significantly reduce the likelihood of a nation with a comprehensive safeguards agreement successfully concealing a nuclear weapons program:

First, in addition to the current requirement to provide nuclear fuel and fuel cycle activity data, states will now have to furnish an "expanded declaration" on a broad array of nuclear-related activities such as "nuclear fuel cycle-related research and development activities—not involving nuclear materials" and "the location, operational status and the estimated annual production" of uranium and thorium mines. All trade in items on the Nuclear Suppliers Group trigger list will also have to be reported to the IAEA.

Second, the number and types of facilities the IAEA will be able to inspect and monitor will substantially increase beyond the present level. To resolve questions or inconsistencies in the information a state has provided about its nuclear activities, the new inspections regime provides the IAEA with "complementary," or pre-approved, access to "[a]ny location specified by the Agency," as well as all of the facilities specified in the "expanded declaration." States accepting the model protocol, in effect, guarantee the IAEA access on short-notice to all of their declared, and if necessary, undeclared facilities "to assure the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities."

Third, the agency's ability to conduct short notice inspections is augmented by streamlining the visa process for inspectors and guaranteeing them, with one month's notice, "appropriate multiple entry/exit" visas that are valid for at least a year.

Fourth, the model protocol confirms the agency's right to use environmental sampling techniques—not previously specified as a valid and objective method in the "scope of inspections,"—throughout its monitoring and inspections activities.

According to Gary Samore, National Security Council senior director for nonproliferation, "The protocol substantially strengthens the ability of the IAEA to detect clandestine nuclear programs by giving it access to additional information and locations." The shift in the IAEA's focus from strict material accountancy to a more comprehensive approach to a state's nuclear activities should considerably deter "rogue" states' secret pursuit of nuclear weapons programs. A senior administration official said, "Nations attempting to conceal their nuclear weapons programs will be in a Catch22' position, that is, with heavy pressure to sign [the protocol] but serious concern they'll get caught."

Unlike the non-nuclear-weapon states, which are required by the NPT to accept IAEA safeguards on their nuclear activities, the five nuclear-weapon states (the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia), because they are entitled to manufacture nuclear weapons, are free from this requirement. However, to augment the acceptability of the new protocol and to show they are not seeking a commercial advantage, all five countries have announced their intention to apply some of the new safeguards to their commercial nuclear facilities. On May 16, the White House announced that it would accept the new measures "in their entirety except where they involve information or locations of direct national security significance," and promised to seek legislation to make the protocol legally binding. Britain and France have said they will accept almost all of the new measures, while Russia and China are expected to adopt fewer parts of the model protocol on the grounds of national security concerns.

Enhanced NPT Review Process Gets Underway at First PrepCom Session


Sami Fournier

DELEGATES FROM 148 countries met at the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) first session in New York, April 7-18 to lay groundwork for recommendations to the nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in 2000. The session, the first meeting of NPT statesparties since their 1995 indefinite extension of the treaty, ironed out procedural issues and heard substantive statements on ways to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime. Chaired by Pasi Patokallio of Finland, the PrepCom produced a largely procedural final report with two annexes, including a set of general recommendations for future sessions.

The annexed "Chairman's Working Paper" lists three areas for which discussion time will be allotted in upcoming sessions. At least two and possibly three annual PrepCom sessions will be held in the runup to 2000. This list, termed "the recommendation on quality time" by U.S. negotiators, attempts to balance demands of various groups of states which wanted to cite specific areas in need of greater attention.

For example, the nonaligned states, led by South Africa, insisted that the list include a commitment by the nuclearweapon states to discuss giving binding assurances not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any nonweapon state NPT party. Egypt led a call for inclusion on the list of a Middle East resolution, a leftover point of contention from the 1995 Review and Extension Conference. Germany and Canada promoted listing the fissile material production ban, which had dropped out of the PrepCom agenda.

When Mexico raised the objection that this list neglected disarmament measures, many countries countered that nuclear disarmament was at the heart of the entire process. Nevertheless, in response mainly to the Western states' unwillingness to put disarmament discussions on the agenda of the 61nation Geneva Conference on Disarmament (CD), a Mexican statement of dissent is included in the final report.

The five nuclearweapon states issued a joint statement affirming disarmament progress, including the START process and the achievement of the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty. Members of the nonaligned group urged the nuclearweapon states to begin discussing the elimination of nuclear weapons in a subgroup of the CD. But the nonaligned were not generally organized in their efforts. "A lot of countries were not prepared when [the PrepCom] took off as dramatically and substantively as it did," according to Susan Burk of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

The chairman's paper contains substantive issues presented at the PrepCom such as Canadian proposals, supported by several states including Ireland and New Zealand, for prohibiting nuclear testing prior to entry into force of the CTB Treaty and securing commitments by the nuclearweapon states not to produce new types of weapons of mass destruction. A Belarussian proposal for a Central and Eastern European nuclearweaponfree zone was also presented.

Though the meeting did not resolve any of these outstanding questions, it managed to orient the future agenda toward substantive issues. Initiating the enhanced review process was part of the 1995 agreement to indefinitely extend the NPT, and procedures which were agreed to at the meeting, such as the "rolling report" format for review conference recommendations will help shape progress at the next session, tentatively set for April 1998 in Geneva.

Enhanced NPT Review Process Gets Underway at First PrepCom Session

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT)


This treaty is the basis of international cooperation on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons by promoting disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.


The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) is the only multilateral treaty with the goal of creating a binding commitment of disarmament by nuclear-weapon states. NPT seeks to promote cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear technology and prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology. More states have ratified the NPT than any other treaty on arms limitation and disarmament. Every five years, the Treaty’s operations are reviewed. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifies compliance with the Treaty.

Opened for Signature: 1 July 1968

Entry into force: 5 March 1970

Official Text: http://disarmament.un.org/treaties/t/npt/text

Status and Signatories: http://disarmament.un.org/treaties/t/npt

ACA Backgrounder: https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/nptfact


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