2005 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference: U.S. ObjectivesBureau of Arms Control
April 21, 2005
Setting: The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) plays a key role in global efforts to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons. The United States remains strongly committed to the Treaty. The NPT faces a grave challenge due to violations of the treaty's nonproliferation provisions by Iraq, North Korea, Iran and Libya. A widespread secret nuclear procurement network has also been exposed. While the Libyan and Iraqi threats have been eliminated, the North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons programs continue to threaten the NPT regime.
Compliance with the NPT's Nonproliferation Obligations: The United States is committed to its NPT obligations and will seek support at the Conference for principles and policies to ensure the Treaty continues to advance global security.
NPT parties' security has been undermined by persistent violations by some states of the Treaty's nonproliferation provisions. Unless we hold violators accountable, our collective security will deteriorate further.
NPT parties should pursue effective measures to reverse existing cases of noncompliance and prevent new ones. They should support ongoing efforts to convince Iran and North Korea to eliminate their nuclear weapons programs.
NPT parties should demand strict compliance with the Treaty's nonproliferation obligations. As required, violations should be reported to the UN Security Council.
NPT parties should have effective internal and export controls on nuclear-related items to ensure compliance with the Treaty's nonproliferation obligations and to keep their territories free of illegal activities. Security Council resolution 1540 is an important tool in this regard. Its implementation will help to ensure that new technology networks do not spring up to take the place of the infamous Khan operation. NPT parties should also collaborate to stop illegal transfers through activities such as the Proliferation Security Initiative.
NPT parties should recognize that the ban on the acquisition of nuclear weapons applies not only to an assembled weapon, but also can apply to a range of activities leading to assembly. Action should be taken if warning signs suggest an intent to acquire nuclear weapons, such as the secret pursuit of nuclear fuel cycle facilities.
The NPT's IAEA safeguards agreement and the Additional Protocol should be universally accepted, become the new safeguards standard and a key benchmark for transparency of peaceful nuclear programs, as well as a condition for nuclear supply. The IAEA Board of Governors should establish a Special Committee to enhance verification and enforcement of safeguards agreements.
NPT parties should recognize that enrichment and reprocessing technologies have been misused to support nuclear weapons programs. Restrictions on access to these technologies but not to the benefits of peaceful nuclear energy for NPT compliant states - are needed to prevent new proliferation risks. Moreover, access to these technologies is not necessary to pursue a peaceful nuclear program. Reliable fuel supply is available for NPT parties that follow their nonproliferation commitments.
Peaceful Nuclear Programs: NPT parties should recognize the linkage between pursuit of peaceful nuclear programs and adherence to the Treaty's nonproliferation obligations. We will continue to facilitate assistance to programs in NPT parties that honor their Treaty obligations. NPT parties must prevent the Treaty from being used to hide a nuclear weapons program.
NPT parties' nuclear uses must comply with the Treaty's nonproliferation obligations. NPT parties that violate these obligations are not entitled to the benefits provided to those that honor their commitments. Enforcement action should be taken against violators, including a halt in nuclear supply. An NPT party has no basis to claim that the Treaty protects it from the consequences of its NPT violations, including the imposition of measures against its nuclear program.
Disarmament: The United States has taken many steps, unilaterally, bilaterally with Russia, and multilaterally within NATO, that meet our Article VI obligations. U.S. deployed strategic nuclear warheads were around 10,000 in 1991. By 2001, the number had dropped to 6,000 and is headed for 1,700-2,200 by 2012 -- an 80% reduction since 1991. Even more dramatic reductions of 90% have been made in non-strategic nuclear weapons. It is indisputable that U.S. actions over the past 15 years have established an excellent record of meeting our Article VI obligations. (See charts illustrating U.S. progress in this area.)
Conclusion: NPT parties should seize this important opportunity to work together to confront the dangers of nuclear proliferation.