Nuclear treaty review starts in New York
Apr 28, 2000
A review of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty started earlier this week at the World Trade Centre in New York. Over 147 countries have signed the treaty, which has successfully reduced the proliferation of nuclear weapons. However, Israel, Cuba, Pakistan and India have refused to sign the new treaty, while Russia - which recently ratified the two main disarmament treaties, START II and the comprehensive test ban treaty (CTBT) - has accused the US of starting a new arms race with its plans to develop an national missile defence system. Russia claims that such a system would violate the anti-ballistic missile treaty signed in 1972. With China announcing that it plans to "speed the process" towards ratifying the CTBT, the US is the only major nuclear power that has no plans to ratify the treaty. The US senate refused to ratify the CTBT last October.
The New York conference is intended to specify a timetable for all the main nuclear powers - China, France, Russia, the UK and the US - to abandon their nuclear weapon stockpiles. Delegates will also discuss ways to curb the production of weapons-grade fissile material and promote nuclear non-proliferation among the other states. But many countries have accused the nuclear powers of trying to protect the current status quo. Kofi Annan, secretary general of the United Nations, reminded delegates that the threat of nuclear war remained "a very real, and very terrifying possibility."