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U.S. seeks to bolster NPT at UN conference
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15:30, May 06, 2009

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The United States on Tuesday reaffirmed efforts to bolster the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) at a UN conference.

Rose Gottemoeller, U.S. assistant secretary of state and chief of the U.S. delegation at the conference, read out a message of President Barack Obama on Washington's commitment to the NPT framework.

In the message, Obama said, "We must strengthen the NPT to deal effectively with the threat of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism."

"To seek the peace and security of a world free of nuclear weapons, in Prague, I committed the United States to take a number of initial steps in this direction," the president said, referring to his speech on nonproliferation last month in the Czech capital.

The president said he expected there would be differences among the parties to the treaty, but "we must define ourselves not by our differences but by our readiness to pursue dialogue."

However, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali Hosseini pointed out that Washington differed itself with other signatories at the conference on Monday.

Many of the participants called for inclusiveness, particularly the return of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the fold, and the increased cooperation of Iran with the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he said.

Hosseini slammed the "double standards" of certain countries in "implementing this treaty."

"The international community has serious concerns regarding the United States, the United Kingdom and France's policies and actions on continued existence of thousands of nuclear weapons in their hands," he said.

Britain, France and the United States are aligned in the UN Security Council against Iran's quest for nuclear capability, which Tehran insists on for peaceful purposes.

Iran also complains that India, Israel and Pakistan are not recognized as nuclear weapons states under the treaty.

Several countries at the meeting, including those represented by the Non-Aligned Movement, lamented nuclear cooperation the United States extended to India, a non-signatory to the treaty.

Because of such actions, Hosseini said non-nuclear signatories had a "legitimate question" when they ask, "How long should they wait to witness the noble goal of eliminating nuclear weapons, as enshrined in the NPT, to come to reality."

The two-week NPT conference, which opened Monday, is a preparation meeting for the 2010 review session. A review conference on the treaty is held every five years.

The 1968 NPT treaty entered into force in 1970 and was extended indefinitely in 1995.


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