The 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, (the NPT) Review conference ended in New York on May 28th. Over 170 participating nations of the NPT's nearly 190 State Parties approved on a consensus basis a final document outlining measures to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and strengthen the NPT as a key tool in forging a world without nuclear arms.
The conference began with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's opening statement reaffirming the U.S. commitment to strengthening the NPT. The statement contained new initiatives on the transparency of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile; a pledge of $50 million for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy to promote health and prosperity in developing nations; and a decision to seek U.S. senate ratification of the relevant protocols of the African and South Pacific nuclear weapon free zone treaties.
The U.S. welcomes the agreements reached at the conference. President Barack Obama said in a statement that the consensus document "includes balanced and practical steps that will advance nonproliferation, nuclear disarmament, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, which are critical pillars of the global nonproliferation regime."
The final document provides new momentum to carry forward the president's policies and the work of strengthening the NPT in the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (the IAEA), and other multilateral venues. The NPT final document expresses the conviction that nothing should be done to undermine the authority of the IAEA to guard against the diversion of nuclear energy to military programs. It also encourages all NPT parties to adhere to the "Additional Protocol," which provides additional safeguards information and authorities and which the IAEA and the UN Security Council have demanded that Iran accept.
For the first time in the 40-year history of the NPT, the Review Conference addressed steps needed to guard against misuse of withdrawal from the treaty, as with North Korea's withdrawal announcement in 2003; and the final document expresses broad agreement that states cannot escape responsibility for NPT violations by withdrawing from the treaty.
President Obama also said that Iran's failure to live up to its NPT obligations is "the greatest threat to proliferation in the Middle East and the NPT." But he said that the efforts of the NPT review conference will "strengthen the NPT as a critical part of our efforts to ensure that all nations meet their NPT and non-proliferation obligations, or face consequences. Together," said President Obama, "we must work for a world where nations benefit from the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, while also being secure from the threat posed by nuclear proliferation."