Login/Logout

*
*  

"I actually have a pretty good collection of Arms Control Today, which I have read throughout my career. It's one of the few really serious publications on arms control issues."

– Gary Samore
Former White House Coordinator for Arms Control and WMD Terrorism
The 2005 NPT Review Conference: Can It Meet the Nuclear Challenge?

Latest ACA Resources

Jean du Preez

The nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) was designed to link the concerns of those who acquired nuclear weapons but did not desire further proliferation with those who had not acquired nuclear weapons but wanted the potential to make use of nuclear energy.

In the resulting NPT “bargain,” the non-nuclear-weapon states promised the nuclear-weapon states[1] that they would not acquire nuclear weapons. In return, the nuclear-weapon states promised their non-nuclear counterparts “the fullest exchange” of nuclear technology (given compliance with safeguards obligations) and “good faith negotiations” to engage in nuclear disarmament.

The terms of this bargain seem to have been necessary to codify the emerging norm against the proliferation of nuclear weapons in that particular political and strategic context. The discriminatory nature of this arrangement, however, embodied in the divergent legal obligations of the two categories of states-parties, has been the underlying source of many of the NPT’s deficiencies and disagreements since its entry into force 35 years ago.

When the NPT states-parties meet in New York in May at the 2005 Review Conference, they will be confronted with the most difficult challenges the NPT has ever faced. Tackling these problems requires that states-parties, individually and collectively, muster the political will to implement all their obligations under the treaty. The review conference can play an important role in this process by turning the spotlight on today’s nonproliferation and disarmament challenges and identifying collective and national responses to deal with them.

It is important that they do so in earnest and not seek to fix the cracks in the NPT’s armor through carefully scripted and often watered-down consensus language for the sake of a “successful outcome” or final document. Failure to focus on and resolve these tough issues, even though doing so may require difficult decisions and hard compromises, runs the risks of making the NPT irrelevant and leading to the eventual downfall of the regime. Yet, if judged by preparatory discussions, there seems to be a sense of complacency among many states-parties to confront these challenges head on.

Promoting Universal Adherence
The near universality of the NPT has succeeded in creating a nonproliferation norm that has made the world safer by significantly raising the political cost of making nuclear weapons. Its inability to become fully universal, however, is a major failure with potential serious consequences. Still, states-parties may have to accept that three states with nuclear weapons will remain outside the treaty. The NPT does not permit India, Pakistan, and Israel to join as nuclear-weapon states,[2] but they are not likely to give up their nuclear weapons anytime soon. Although the goal of persuading these states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals should not be abandoned, it is likely to be achieved only when the five declared nuclear-weapon states get rid of theirs.

Instead of symbolic efforts to convince the three states to join the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states, it would be more useful to press these states to commit themselves politically to the nonproliferation obligations similar to those to which the nuclear-weapon states adhere: preventing proliferation exports, securing nuclear weapons and materials, reducing the role of nuclear weapons in their national security policies, and eschewing nuclear testing.[3]

Of course, endorsement by the conference to engage the three de facto nuclear states in this manner would create political difficulties for and require an adjustment in the policies of several non-nuclear-weapon states, such as South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Egypt, and Indonesia, who have consistently rejected attempts to recognize the three non-NPT states as de facto or de jure nuclear-weapon states.

Preventing Further Withdrawals
The need for universality raises a related challenge: retaining states-parties as members of the treaty. North Korea’s announced withdrawal—the first state-party to do so—raises the issue of the “irreversibility” of NPT commitments. Although the treaty allows any state-party to exercise its sovereign right to withdraw from the treaty (Article X), no formal mechanisms exist to respond to a state’s withdrawal: a deficiency that North Korea exploited in order to gain the capability to produce nuclear weapons and rescind its obligations. If Pyongyang does have nuclear weapons, as it recently claimed, does this mean that North Korea should be viewed as a de facto nuclear-weapon power outside the treaty?

The treaty’s near universal acceptance probably owes a great deal to Article X. Yet, North Korea’s withdrawal raises some difficult questions about the circumstances under which a state-party should be allowed to exercise this right. Do states-parties have the right not to recognize another state’s sovereign right to withdraw? Should Article X be changed or reinterpreted? Given the lack of an automatic enforcement mechanism and the apparent inability of members of the UN Security Council to act on North Korea’s violations, this clause has the potential to be used again, making a mockery of the treaty’s objectives.

Some have argued for specific legal judgments on withdrawal or specific emergency mechanisms to cope with these crises, but arguing over the legality of a withdrawing state’s actions could take years and detract from efforts to deal with the underlying causes of a state’s withdrawal. Further, it is doubtful whether a caucus of NPT states-parties or an emergency meeting of states-parties could accomplish more than the Security Council or the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors.

Still, a number of steps could be taken to deter possible future withdrawals, making it clear that such action would entail real consequences.[4] Some of these steps might be taken in the context of the 2005 Review Conference.

First, states-parties should agree that no state will be rewarded for threatening to withdraw in order to extract some economic or security benefit and that no state will be allowed to renege on its obligation to the NPT if its withdrawal is used to avoid consequences or noncompliance with the NPT. In particular, the 2005 Review Conference has the responsibility to express itself on North Korea’s announced withdrawal. Failure by the states-parties collectively to respond to one of the most significant events in the treaty’s history would also make a mockery of the treaty.

Second, states-parties might agree that withdrawal from the treaty cannot free a non-nuclear-weapon state from the obligation not to use fissile material and production facilities, including those of indigenous origin, acquired prior to its withdrawal for weapons purposes. Although difficult to enforce, such an agreement would signal that the states-parties will challenge attempts to exploit Article X.

Some other measures might be taken outside the context of the NPT. For example, the Security Council should stiffen its resolve to act promptly when a state indicates its intention to withdraw. Additionally, to prevent a sense of insecurity among other states-parties as a result of a withdrawal, the Security Council might also issue a statement of support for the security concerns of any state-party that feels threatened. States should also suspend all assistance to the withdrawing state’s nuclear program and consider cutting off other forms of assistance. In the end, the withdrawing state must realize it will be worse off than it was prior to making the decision to pull out of the NPT.

Inability to Enforce Compliance

The NPT lacks an automatic enforcement mechanism to deal with violators. Through the IAEA Board of Governors, the Security Council is available to address treaty violations, including through the application of Chapter VII measures such as the use of force or economic sanctions. Yet, the IAEA board and the Security Council are not independent institutional actors; they are often politically divided and, therefore, fail to take action. The Security Council’s divisions over North Korea have already been discussed. Likewise, the IAEA board has been divided on how to deal with Iran’s failure to fully implement its safeguards agreements since the issue arose more than two years ago.

Several proposals have been submitted to strengthen the treaty’s enforcement mechanism, ranging from a permanent secretariat to an NPT executive council and meeting of states-parties with plenipotentiary powers. Given the differences among stakeholders, however, it is not clear that any special body tasked to enforce compliance would be any more vigorous in adopting enforcement mechanisms than the existing institutions.

The conundrum any mechanism would confront would be similar: what is the best action to take if the IAEA finds a state in noncompliance with its safeguards agreements? Should the international response be swift and perhaps include the destruction of nuclear facilities and/or long-term sanctions, or will the states-parties be faced with the same dilemmas they currently face over Pakistan and India? Even more challenging would be how to respond if a nuclear program is detected in time to prevent proliferation. Should the state in question be returned to the perceived status quo ante through verified dismantlement of its nuclear program, or should it be punished?[5]

Rather than focusing on altering enforcement mechanisms, the conference and subsequent discussions might more usefully concentrate on when enforcement mechanisms would be needed. In other words, these efforts could focus on drafting appropriate criteria to prove unambiguously that another state-party has a nuclear weapons program.

Weakness of Article VI
The weakness to enforce treaty obligations also relates to the flip side of the nonproliferation deal: nuclear disarmament. Many non-nuclear-weapon states believe that the nuclear-weapon states are no longer fully committed to their obligations under Article VI of the treaty to make good faith efforts toward disarmament. They are especially bothered that some nuclear-weapon states appear to have walked away from the “unequivocal undertaking” given at the 2000 NPT Review Conference to eliminate their nuclear arsenals as part of “13 practical steps” toward nuclear disarmament. This highlights what many view as one of the fundamental weaknesses in the treaty: the absence of a time frame for disarmament. While the nuclear-weapon states have always refused to accept such a time frame, many non-nuclear-weapon states now rightfully argue that, if the nonproliferation objectives of the treaty are to be backed by stricter verification and enforcement measures, so should the treaty’s disarmament objectives.

The 2000 interpretation of Article VI, moreover, does not stand in isolation; it should be considered against the backdrop of the package of decisions adopted in 1995, which included the indefinite extension of the treaty. In fact, most non-nuclear-weapon states, particularly those from the Nonaligned Movement (NAM), were concerned in 1995 and remain concerned that the indefinite extension would eliminate the only leverage to press for nuclear disarmament built into the treaty. The tacit threat in Article X that the treaty could expire if not renewed in fact provided a timebound framework, albeit a very vague and weak one.

What should remain clear is that the 1995 package allowed all states-parties to support the indefinite extension while also providing several practical steps for achieving progress toward nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. The 2000 Review Conference reaffirmed this program of action, including the “unequivocal undertaking,” and agreed on a set of specific practical “systematic and progressive” steps to implement Article VI.

Although these undertakings are of a political binding nature, they certainly derive from and are linked to the legal commitments and undertakings provided for in the treaty. Most importantly, the treaty clearly would not have been indefinitely extended had it not been for the program of action on nuclear disarmament built into the package that allowed that decision to be taken.

The trend by some nuclear-weapon states, such as the United States, to roll back or, in some cases, simply ignore many of these political commitments and undertakings point out yet another weakness in the way the treaty is being implemented. If the nuclear-weapon states are allowed to cherry-pick which commitments they consider applicable, then why are non-nuclear-weapon states refused the same privilege?

Consider the nuclear-weapon states’ 1995 and 2000 pledges to negotiate and work for the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Today, at least one nuclear-weapon state, the United States, has reneged on that agreement. If the principle of quid pro quo is to be applied, non-nuclear-weapon states could rightfully stop upholding commitments in a way that the nuclear-weapon states would find distasteful. For example, the 2000 Review Conference reinterpreted the treaty so that the “inalienable right to nuclear energy” is now tied to IAEA safeguards requirements enumerated in Article III as well as the treaty’s general nuclear nonproliferation requirements espoused in Articles I and II.

Likewise, with regard to the 1995 and 2000 requirements on the nuclear-weapon states, France has argued that each review conference’s decisions should be considered in isolation. Does Paris really want to undermine other decisions taken at those fora, such as backing full-scope safeguards as a condition of supply for fissionable material and related equipment and endorsing the 1997 Model Additional Protocol as an improvement on previous safeguards agreements?

Such an approach could also put into question the continued validity of the 1995 decision to extend the treaty indefinitely. Naturally, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to reverse that decision. What would be more important, however, is to ensure the continued commitment by all states-parties, especially those who were critical of it in 1995, to that decision, if not the other core bargains in the treaty itself.

A compromise approach would be for states-parties to focus their attention on reaching agreements on the nuclear disarmament obligations, commitments, and undertakings that could be implemented in the foreseeable future and in the period before 2010, without negating those that were agreed on in 1995 and 2000. Some of the more specific measures could include agreements on:

• The necessity to achieve the early entry into force of the CTBT while maintaining existing moratoria on nuclear testing;

• The need for the nuclear-weapon states to take further steps to reduce their nonstrategic nuclear arsenals and not to develop new types of nuclear weapons in accordance with their commitment to diminish the role of nuclear weapons in their security policies;

• The need for the Conference on Disarmament (CD) urgently to resume negotiations on an internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, taking into account both nuclear disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation objectives;

• The completion and implementation of arrangements by all nuclear-weapon states to place fissile material no longer required for military purposes under international verification;

• The establishment of an appropriate CD subsidiary body to deal with nuclear disarmament;

• The imperative of the principles of irreversibility and transparency for all nuclear disarmament measures and the need further to develop adequate and efficient verification capabilities.

One realistic compromise at the 2005 Review Conference would include a reaffirmation by the states-parties to restart negotiations urgently on an internationally verifiable fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT) and an agreement to adopt comprehensive safeguards agreements[6] plus the Model Additional Protocol[7] as the standard for safeguards inspection of the non-nuclear-weapon states. Of course, doing so would require a change in position of at least one nuclear-weapon state, the United States, which does not consider the FMCT effectively verifiable. Since the nuclear-weapon states’ pledge to seek a verifiable FMCT and the entry into force of the CTBT was integral to the treaty’s indefinite extension, the further pursuit of these objectives, in part or in whole, is needed to ensure progress at the conference.

Article IV: An Inalienable Right Or a Potential Loophole?
A focus of the nuclear-weapon states at the conference is sure to be Article IV, the treaty’s provision that provides for an “inalienable right” to nuclear energy. When considering accounts of the early negotiating history of the NPT, it is clear that Article IV was not intended to restrict this right beyond those activities prohibited under the treaty. Notably, however, the original drafters did not envisage that every state should be entitled to develop the full nuclear fuel cycle, given the near nuclear-weapons-ready status associated with uranium-enrichment and plutonium reprocessing capabilities.

A small number of non-nuclear-weapon states—North Korea, Iraq, and Libya—have in recent years misused this right as cover to do research on or actually develop nuclear weapons capabilities. Likewise, the current concerns over Iran’s nuclear intentions yet again highlight the potential risks of allowing NPT member states to develop an entire nuclear fuel cycle under Article IV legitimately without having a sufficient mechanism to gauge their nuclear intentions objectively.

The potential consequences of these developments and the ultimate outcome of the North Korean, Iranian, and Libyan nuclear controversies may generate unpredictable consequences for the NPT and the IAEA. Although vastly different in nature, recent proposals by President George W. Bush and IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei to control or limit access to civilian nuclear fuel production may make sense, given the vulnerability of Article IV. These proposals, however, are based on the premise that non-nuclear-weapon states in full compliance with the treaty’s obligations should agree to restrict a sovereign right further. In this regard, it is noteworthy that several non-nuclear-weapon states with large stockpiles of highly enriched uranium or weapons-grade plutonium, such as Japan and Germany, have already rejected attempts to include civilian fissile material in the scope of a future FMCT and would likely reject attempts to restrict their large civilian nuclear industrial capabilities further.

Because any such proposal would introduce a “new deal” with added restrictions on non-nuclear-weapon states, it would have to be met with reciprocal obligations by the nuclear-weapon states. Germany, for instance, made it clear at the 2004 Preparatory Committee session that “A de facto restriction of Article IV should be accompanied by far-reaching nuclear disarmament measures by the nuclear-weapon states (with a view to maintaining the balance of the fundamental bargain underlying the NPT).”[8]

A possible way for the conference to address the apparent weakness of Article IV would be for all states-parties to reaffirm their interpretation of Article IV and its relationship with Articles I, II, and III and to interpret the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy. Precedence for interpreting specific articles of the treaty and their relationship vis-à-vis other treaty articles or agreements in light of changed circumstances already exists. As indicated before, at the 2000 Review Conference, the states-parties interpreted the rights under Article IV to be in conformity with Article III. Clearly, the right applies only to states-parties with comprehensive safeguards agreements in place.

Similarly, the states-parties could agree that, while recognizing the right to use the atom for peaceful purposes, ownership of the capability, which could be used to develop nuclear weapons, places a special responsibility on states concerned. This approach, together with an agreement to apply the comprehensive safeguards agreements and the Model Additional Protocol to those agreements, could significantly strengthen the IAEA’s ability to verify compliance.

A more radical approach likely to face strong opposition from many non-nuclear-weapon states would be for the conference to agree that states-parties under investigation of violating their safeguards agreements or that have been found by the IAEA board to have failed to comply with their obligations should lose the right to develop their own enrichment and reprocessing capabilities. Agreement on how to enforce this approach, especially in the case of countries that could pursue indigenous development of these capabilities, may be very difficult.

Outdated Safeguards
A related weakness in the treaty is the outdated safeguards requirement in Article III. Soon after the treaty’s entry into force, it was considered sufficient for non-nuclear-weapon states to conclude comprehensive safeguards agreements with the IAEA as a mechanism to verify compliance with the NPT. The agency’s experiences during the early 1990s in Iraq and North Korea, however, proved that those safeguards were insufficient. These experiences led to the adoption of a new voluntary standard, the 1997 Model Additional Protocol, which substantially expands the IAEA's ability to detect clandestine nuclear activities.

Given the latest experiences with North Korea, Iran, and Libya, the NPT states-parties could agree that the strengthened safeguards system should constitute the treaty’s mandatory safeguards standard. Still, even with the Additional Protocol, IAEA inspectors are hard-pressed, especially in secretive societies, to determine if a state intends to develop a nuclear weapons capability and prevent it from doing so. Even with its full implementation, the Additional Protocol only provides the agency with more extensive abilities to verify capabilities, not intentions. Thus, a state can still legally develop a “break-out” capability even if it is under IAEA supervision.

Dealing with New Players: Nonstate Actors and Terrorists
A related emerging weakness in the treaty’s design is that it was meant to deal with state entities only. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, concerns have increased that subnational terrorist groups are working to acquire nuclear weapons. Moreover, treaty members have witnessed an increased proliferation of nuclear weapons technologies, including the discovery of a network of clandestine nuclear smuggling activities from a nonparty state with nuclear weapons—Pakistan—despite increased efforts by supplier states to control these technologies. Because the treaty presumed that acquisition of nuclear weapons technologies would come from technologically advanced states, it fails to address indigenous technology development and transfer by nonparties and nonstate actors, including individuals, commercial and criminal entities, and terrorists.

No mechanism, other than that of individual states and institutions such as the Security Council, exists to deal with this emerging challenge. The adoption of Security Council Resolution 1540 was clearly meant to address this weakness. Its strength is that it requires all states, as opposed to only member states of the Nuclear Suppliers Group or the Zangger Committee, to implement export controls related to nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. Yet, many states remain concerned about the Security Council’s legislative role in adopting broad, as opposed to case-specific, measures applicable to all states. States are also concerned about the practical implications of implementing the measures. Still, states-parties critical of the resolution are likely to find it difficult during the review conference to oppose references to the resolution as an important tool to deal with nonstate actors, including terrorist and clandestine networks.

Instead, states, particularly NAM members, are likely to argue that Resolution 1540 clearly stipulates that none of the obligations set forth in it “shall be interpreted so as to conflict with or alter the rights and obligations”[9] of NPT states-parties. They may also use the occasion to press for the assistance that the resolution offered to states “lacking the legal and regulatory infrastructure, implementation experience and/or resources for fulfilling the above provisions.”[10]

The Unresolved Issue of Negative Security Assurances
One of the original shortcomings of the treaty was that it did not provide legally binding assurances against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states—so-called negative security assurances—in exchange for the commitment by these states not to acquire nuclear weapons themselves. During the early stages of the treaty’s negotiations, the NAM, to see their security interests addressed in the NPT, successfully backed an initiative in the UN General Assembly in 1966[11] calling on the Conference of the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament “to consider urgently the proposal that the nuclear weapons powers should give an assurance that they will not use, or threaten to use, nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states.”[12]

Cold War divisions prevented this from becoming reality, however, and the nuclear-weapon states adopted the position[13] that the pursuit of security assurances be addressed “in the context of action relating to the United Nations, outside the nonproliferation treaty itself but in close conjunction with it.”[14] Therefore, the NPT opened for signature without any nonuse commitment by the nuclear-weapon states.

In 1968 the Security Council adopted Resolution 255, recognizing the pledge by the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States that the council would have to act immediately to provide assistance to a state attacked or threatened with a nuclear weapon. Many nonaligned states, however, indicated that such a positive security assurance fell short of their expectations and expressed the need for a negative assurance in the form of a multilateral, legally binding commitment.

Since then, the nuclear-weapon states have made or updated unilateral, nonlegally binding pledges establishing criteria for the granting of negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon states. These combined pledges provided the non-nuclear-weapon states with bargaining leverage at the 1995 Review and Extension Conference. Acting just prior to that conference, in 1995 the Security Council adopted Resolution 984, which acknowledged the pledges by the “nuclear five,” marking the first real, politically binding negative security assurances.

Nevertheless, at least two nuclear-weapon states—the United States and the United Kingdom—made qualifying statements following its adoption. The conference itself called for further steps to be considered to assure the non-nuclear-weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons and that these steps could take the form of an international, legally binding instrument. The 2000 Review Conference Final Document included a clear and unambiguous statement that legally binding security assurances would strengthen the NPT regime. The final document also called for recommendations on these proposals in time for the 2005 Review Conference.[15] These have not been forthcoming and are blocked by a clear divide between three nuclear-weapon states (France, the United Kingdom, and the United States) opposed to legally binding assurances and Russia and China, who at least to some extent backed the majority of non-nuclear-weapon states on this issue.

These assurances have become particularly important to the non-nuclear-weapon states, given recent developments in U.S. and Russian policies. In particular, the non-nuclear-weapon states have become concerned by the potential use against them of such nuclear weapons as the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP), or “bunker buster.” Considering the principled reasons behind the need for such assurances and the strong support by the NAM and the New Agenda Coalition[16] for the need to negotiate a legally binding instrument linked to the NPT, this issue, if not addressed properly, has the potential to generate serious problems at the 2005 Review Conference. The New Agenda Coalition, likely to be supported by the nonaligned states, called for the establishment of a subsidiary body at the conference to consider security assurances.[17] Therefore, continued opposition by the nuclear-weapon states to discuss the issue could potentially derail the conference before it begins.

Several options exist on how to address the non-nuclear-weapon states’ quest for legally binding negative security assurances, ranging from a negotiated draft protocol to the NPT, a treaty negotiated in the CD, strengthened security assurances provided in the protocols to existing nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties, or unilateral security assurances such as those provided to Ukraine and those sought by North Korea. Regardless of how such assurances are to be formulated, it would be important to recognize that assurances offered within the context of the NPT, as opposed to another forum, would provide a significant benefit to NPT parties. They would serve as an incentive to those who remained outside the treaty or those who may consider leaving the regime. As such, security assurances should be granted only to states that have forgone the nuclear weapons option and not to those who are still keeping their options open. They should not be applicable to non-NPT parties or to states-parties aspiring to acquire or develop nuclear weapons. This would strengthen the regime and confirm the continued validity of the NPT and its indefinite extension, while addressing concerns over possible scenarios in which some nuclear-weapon states may consider using nuclear weapons.

Conclusion
Although the period since 2000 has seen undesirable nuclear proliferation developments, the overwhelming majority of NPT non-nuclear-weapon states have demonstrated their commitment to and compliance with their obligations. Yet, many non-nuclear-weapon states remain unsatisfied with the emphasis currently placed on the different elements of the NPT, believing that disarmament should be given increased priority. The nuclear-weapon states, by contrast, remain primarily, although not exclusively, concerned with nonproliferation.

A successful conference should ensure that the various governments of states-parties and their bureaucracies begin to get serious about implementing all their obligations. A divisive debate, however, in which some states attempt to reinforce the treaty’s core bargains while others attempt to reinterpret or negate them, will undermine the treaty regime.

In this context, individual elements of the NPT’s bargains cannot be approached singularly; neither can one or another of these elements be ignored or minimized. The proponents of individual proposals need to realize that the pursuit of an immediate national objective risks undermining the entire package of bargains that make up the NPT regime. Such approaches may set additional challenges that the 2005 Review Conference will not be able to meet.[18]

The NPT’s continued vitality and effectiveness as an instrument to achieve the international community’s common goals and as a building block for maintaining international peace and security is dependent on the implementation of the treaty as a whole. An approach at the 2005 Review Conference that focuses on the achievable; maintains the balance between the core NPT bargains; and does not attempt to reinterpret, negate, or withdraw from existing obligations, commitments, and undertakings will allow the conference to meet the core challenges flowing from the treaty’s inherent deficiencies.

ENDNOTES

1. China, France, Russia (then the Soviet Union), the United Kingdom, and the United States.

2. Article IX (3) of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) specifies that “a nuclear-weapon State is one which has manufactured and exploded a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device prior to January 1, 1967.” Only five states detonated nuclear devices prior to this date.

3. George Perkovich et al., “Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security,” June 2004.

4. Some of these steps are based on ideas presented by U.S. Deputy Under-Secretary of State Andrew Semmel at a NPT workshop hosted by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Annecy, France, on March 7-8, 2004.

5. John Simpson, “Universality, Non-compliance and Reform of NPT Procedures: Some Thoughts on a Complex Policy Nexus,” Presentation at “NPT: Towards the 2005 Review Conference,” Tokyo, February 2005.

6. INFCIRC 153 (as amended).

7. INFCIRC 540.

8. Working paper by the Federal Republic of Germany at the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 NPT Review Conference.

9. UN Security Council Resolution 1540, S/RES/1540, April 28, 2004, par. 5.

10. Ibid., par. 7.

11. UN General Assembly Resolution 2153 A (XXI).

12. “Developments Regarding Positive and Negative Security Assurances Since the 1995 Review and Extension Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons: Background Paper Prepared by the Secretariat,” NPT/Conf.2000/6, March 21, 2000 (hereinafter UN security assurances background paper).

13. The Soviet Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland took this position. France and China were the other two nuclear-weapon states at that time. The former, which did not join the NPT until 1992, abstained from the Security Council resolution. China’s seat at the United Nations was held by Taiwan at the time of the NPT.

14. Action “outside” the NPT has come to mean resolutions by the Security Council and conduct in the context of nuclear-weapon-free zones. See UN security assurances background paper (quoting ENDC/PV.375, March 11, 1968) (emphasis added).

15. “2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons: Final Declaration,” 2000, NPT/CONF.2000/28 Parts I and II, pt. I.

16. A cross-regional group of states-parties (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, and Sweden) that were instrumental in extracting disarmament commitments (the 13 practical steps) from the nuclear-weapon states at the 2000 Review Conference.

17. See “New Agenda Coalition Substantive Recommendations to the Third Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 NPT Review Conference,” NPT/CONF.2005/PC.III/11, April 26, 2004.

18. See Peter Goosen, “The Core NPT Challenges Flowing from 1995 and 2000,” Paper presented at “Atlanta Consultation II: On the Future of the NPT,” 2005.


Jean du Preez is director of the International Organizations and Nonproliferation program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif.