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UN asks India, Pak, Israel to join NPT, CTBT

May 29, 2010 14:35 IST

In a departure from tradition of not singling out countries by name, the United Nations has asked India, Pakistan and Israel to join the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty without further delay and pre-conditions.

The UN's call to the three countries to join NPT and CTBT came at the end of the month-long 2010 NPT review conference in United Nations on Friday.

While it was expected that the names would be dropped in favour of a general statement calling for the universality of the NPT, the final document produced at the conference specifically called on India, Pakistan and Israel to accede to the treaty without further delay and pre-conditions.

"The conference remains convinced that universal adherence to the treaty can achieve this goal (of non-proliferation) and it calls upon all States not parties to the Treaty, India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to it without further delay and without conditions," the final document said.

The 189 delegates to the conference also called on the "three states, operating unsafeguarded nuclear facilities to reverse clearly and urgently any policies to pursue any nuclear weapon development or deployment and to refrain from any action which would undermine regional peace and security," it said.

The NPT review conference is held every five years to assess the progress in reaching the goals set out in the 1970 treaty to disarm and stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

India, Pakistan and Israel did not attend the meet. The last conference in 2005 had ended in failure.

In a section on South Asia in the text, the UN urged India and Pakistan to place all nuclear facilities under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"The conference urges both states to strengthen their non-proliferation export control measures over technologies, material and equipment that can be used for the production of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems," it said.

The final document, however, was criticised by several Non-Aligned Movement countries for being weak since many of the Western nations did not make any concrete pledge to reduce their nuclear arsenal nor was the timeline of 2025 to get rid of the nuclear weapons accepted in the draft.

"We are aware that the adopted final document did not benefit to a great extent from the elements of a plan of action presented by the Non-Aligned Movement on the total elimination of nuclear weapons," said Maged Abdelaziz, Egypt's ambassador to the UN, speaking on behalf of the NAM countries.

"The position taken by certain nuclear weapon states manifested that they are not ready to refrain from their previously established undertakings and commitments," noted Iranian Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh.

One of the few concrete steps included in the document was scheduling a meeting in 2012 to discuss the creation of a Middle East Nuclear Free Zone. The US took exception to the fact that Israel had been singled out in the text -- a key demand of the Arab states.

"The Conference recalls the affirmation by the 2000 Review Conference of the importance of Israel's accession to the Treaty and the placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguard," the text said.

American Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Ellen Tauscher, noted that the ability of the US to help with the regional conference had been "seriously jeopardised because the final document singles out Israel in the Middle East section, a fact that the United States deeply regrets."
Betwa Sharma in Untied Nations
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