No dates on disarmament in 2nd draft agreement at NPT conference

08:42, May 20, 2010      

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A second draft agreement circulated on Wednesday at the review conference of the Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is gutted of all dates in the disarmament action plan, a change likely to dismay non-nuclear weapon states, which have called on the nuclear "haves" to set clear benchmarks for the elimination of atomic weapons.

The previous draft called on atomic-weapon states to meet no later than 2011 to discuss how to move forward on nuclear disarmament, after which time United Nations Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon would convene an international conference some time in 2014 to make further progress.

The latest draft simply says that the Geneva-based "Conference on Disarmament should immediately establish an appropriate subsidiary body ... to reduce nuclear weapons with the ultimate goal of their elimination."

The UN chief is still urged to convene a high-level meeting to take stock and agree on a roadmap for the complete elimination of atomic weapons, but no date is set.

The negotiations will continue in the coming days with the hope of a consensus outcome on May 28.

At the heart of the NPT, the five original nuclear weapon states -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- pledged to move toward disarmament. And, in return for not acquiring the atomic bomb, non-weapon states have been promised access to peaceful nuclear energy.

During the opening days of the NPT Review Conference, the majority of non-weapon states said the legitimacy of the treaty would be threatened if atomic-weapon states did not make an early commitment to reducing their nuclear arsenals.



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