Brazil calls on atomic-weapon states to disarm

08:28, May 04, 2010      

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Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim on Monday called on nuclear-weapon states to work towards the total elimination of atomic weapons to rectify the " intrinsically unfair" nature of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"Nuclear disarmament requires comprehensive and verifiable steps, as well as a precise and realistic timetable," Amorim said at the 2010 Review Conference, which began here at the United Nations on Monday. "It is the belief that nuclear weapons will be eliminated in a foreseeable future that offers us the ultimate guarantee against nuclear proliferation."

The 40-year old Treaty is founded on the ultimate bargain between the haves and have-nots: Nuclear-weapons states agree to eliminate their arsenals, non-nuclear weapons states promise not to acquire such weapons and all parties to the Treaty are guaranteed the right to peacefully use nuclear energy so long as obligations are met.

The NPT does not outright call for the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, and China to eliminate their nuclear arms but Article VI of the Treaty obliges nuclear-weapon states to conduct negotiations on such matters in "good faith."

"Unfair as it is, the NPT contains in Article VI the seed of its own self-correction," Amorim said. "Failure to implement Article VI, however, perpetuates a destructive imbalance."

Amorim cautioned against preventing NPT parties from exercising their right to peaceful nuclear activities as long as they comply with requirements set forth in the NPT and by the UN atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Doubts about compliance and implementation of the Treaty should be dealt with through dialogue and negotiations, he said, referring to the Iranian nuclear issue.

In a brief statement last month about separate bilateral meetings with Chinese and Indian leaders, Amorim said that based on past experiences and on Iran's particular situation, "sanctions not only are inefficient but in some cases can be counterproductive."



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