U.S. ignores calls for nuclear disarmament at UN meeting

Press release - 28 April, 2004
Since the beginning of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference at the UN on Monday, the U.S. have defiantly ignored strong calls from many delegations for the nuclear weapons states to disarm. Disarmament is the bottom line of the NPT conference, a fact highlighted by many States who spoke on the opening day of the meeting.

Whilst admitting that the Treaty is the cornerstone of the disarmament and non-proliferation regime, the Bush Administration is clearly disregarding its legal obligations to disarmament under the NPT. In his opening speech, U.S. delegate John Bolton focused almost solely on non-nuclear compliance by Iran and North Korea, whilst patting Libya on the back. He clearly intended to deflect attention from the United States' race to develop new nuclear weapons.

"We face a nuclear crisis of extraordinary proportions. The NPT is at present the only treaty containing a legal obligation on states to get rid of their nuclear weapons. It is the most powerful multilateral voice for halting nuclear proliferation and for achieving global abolition," said William Peden from Greenpeace International.

The NPT is the Treaty that was supposed to lead to a nuclear weapons free world, but the risks of proliferation are worse now than ever. In the past years, the multilateral effort to contain and reduce the nuclear risk has unravelled. At the NPT review conference in 2000 all member states signed a 13-point programme that included an undertaking by the five declared nuclear-weapon states to nuclear disarmament. Four years on, there has been no progress. In a number of states, nuclear weapons modernization is being planned instead of disarmament.

At this crucial stage, the US is clearly intent upon undermining to achieve the Treaty's main objective, a world free of nuclear weapons. "To do this the U.S. must accept what most countries already know: we must put the "D" for disarmament back into the NPT. American lack of commitment to non-proliferation harms the reputation of the international Treaty." concluded Peden.

The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee meeting runs from 26 April to 7 May and is the final Preparatory meeting prior to the 2005 Review Conference.