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Mongolia Recognized as Nuclear-Free Zone
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Daryl G. Kimball

At a ceremony in New York Sept. 17, representatives from the five original nuclear-weapon states and Mongolia signed parallel political declarations that formally recognize Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status.

China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States reaffirmed their pledges, originally made at the 2000 UN General Assembly, not to use nuclear weapons against Mongolia and pledged to respect Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status.

Mongolia declared that it has fully complied with its commitments as a non-nuclear-weapon state under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and with its own domestic laws. Those laws prohibit various activities relating to nuclear weapons, including developing, manufacturing, or otherwise acquiring them and stationing, transporting, or testing them.

The parallel declarations, which are not legally binding, represent the final steps to formalize Mongolia’s non-nuclear-weapon status, which was first declared in September 1992, and effectively expands the territory now internationally recognized as free of nuclear weapons. To date, five nuclear-weapon-free zones have been established in Africa, Central Asia, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific, all through multilateral treaties. A Middle Eastern zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction is under discussion.