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UN nuclear meet urges India, Pak to sign NPT, CTBT

May 26, 2010 09:45 IST

Breaking the tradition of not naming countries, the first draft of the final document of the 2010 Nuclear-Non Proliferation Treaty Review conference has asked India, Pakistan and Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

"The conference calls upon India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to the treaty as non-nuclear weapon States, promptly and without conditions, thereby accepting an internationally legally binding commitment not to acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices," the first draft of the document said.

"The conference also calls upon India and Pakistan to maintain moratoriums on nuclear testing and calls upon India, Israel and Pakistan to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty without delay and without conditions," 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. This year it started on May 3 and will end on May 28, when the final draft is expected. India, Pakistan and Israel have not signed the NPT or the CPT and do not attend the conference.

The last conference in 2005 ended in failure. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a Western diplomat said that there were countries which had accepted that India and Pakistan were not going to become part of the treaty and suggested a new track to rein them into the non-proliferation regime.

"We are going to try and put them in a cooperation system with obligations, so that they will have the same obligations that NPT countries do, without being in the NPT," he said, noting that such an agreement was better than doing nothing. Several experts have pointed out that by the time the final document was drawn up, the names of the countries may be replaced by a more general call for the universal acceptance of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Officials noted that naming Israel, for instance, will lead to the country not cooperating with the Arab nations on a plan to have a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East.

"We want something so that all countries come to the table," the Western diplomat said. "But it's so fragile, it's so difficult."

Mark Hibbs, an expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who had attended the meetings, noted that there seemed to be a 'tacit agreement' not to retain the names by the end of the conference.

While several states continue to criticise the special status given to India through the civil nuclear deal with the United States, as it allegedly weakens the NPT regime, diplomats noted that it had not become a major bone of contention. However, the senior Western diplomat noted that the international community would not accept Pakistan entering into a deal similar to the one the US and India had signed.

"We know exactly what India is doing," he said, noting that Islamabad will not allow checks on its nuclear facilities even if it entered into a similar agreement with China. "Pakistan does not want to have any inspection of any kind."

Meanwhile, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have come under severe criticism for watering down the disarmament obligations in the document.

"The commitment to disarm is clearly weaker than what it has been till now," Hibbs said.

The senior Western official also noted that the tussle in the conference was between the permanent members of the Security Council that were united and the Non-Aligned Movement countries, which had divided positions on several issues including Iran's nuclear programme.

"The final document will be weak because it will be the only way to have a document," the Western diplomat said.

Betwa Sharma In United Nations
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