U.S. Opening Statement Announcements at NPT Review Conference

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 3, 2010

In her address to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in New York today, Secretary of State Clinton announced new Presidential policy initiatives that further the Administration’s commitment to the Treaty’s core bargain: states without nuclear weapons promise not to acquire them, states with nuclear weapons work towards eliminating them, and all enjoy access to the peaceful uses of the atom. This fact sheet describes the Secretary’s announcements regarding U.S. participation in nuclear-weapon-free zones and expanded support for peaceful uses of nuclear energy. A separate fact sheet will be issued describing a new U.S. initiative on U.S. nuclear stockpile transparency.

Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones (NWFZ)

The Secretary announced that the United States will seek U.S. Senate advice and consent to ratification of several Protocols to the Africa Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba) and the South Pacific Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Rarotonga). These treaties complement the NPT and enhance the international nonproliferation regime by prohibiting the development or testing of nuclear weapons within their respective geographic zones. Zone parties are also prohibited from stationing nuclear weapons within their territories. The United States is not eligible to be a Party to either of these treaties, but it is eligible to join treaty Protocols open for signature by the nuclear weapons states. These protocols include a pledge not to test nuclear weapons within the zones and legally-binding assurances not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against treaty Parties. The United States understands that such negative security assurances are important to states which have foresworn nuclear weapons and abide by their nuclear non-proliferation obligations.

Following a review of U.S. policy towards the nuclear-weapon-free zones currently in force, the Administration is satisfied that the African and South Pacific treaties are consistent with U.S. and international criteria for such zones. The United States believes that such zones, when fully and rigorously implemented, contribute to the President’s nonproliferation and disarmament goals and to international peace and security. The United States has concluded that the Treaties of Pelindaba and Rarotonga and their Protocols will not disturb existing security arrangements or U.S. military operations, installations, or activities. The Treaties and Protocols will also promote regional cooperation, security and stability and provide a vehicle for the extension of legally-binding negative security assurances, consistent with the strengthened negative security assurance announced in the recent U.S. Nuclear Posture Review.

The United States signed the Protocols to the Treaties of Pelindaba and Rarotonga in 1996. The United States has also signed and ratified the Protocols to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which established a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Latin America and the Caribbean. With respect to the nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties in force in Southeast Asia and Central Asia, the United States looks forward to continuing consultations with zone parties to explore possible U.S. support for signature and ratification of the applicable protocols.

IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative

The Secretary announced today a campaign to raise $100 million over the next five years to broaden access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The funds are to significantly expand support for projects sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), addressing energy and important humanitarian purposes, such as cancer treatment and fighting infectious diseases, food and water security, and the development of infrastructure for the safe, secure use of civil nuclear power. These efforts will be aimed to assist developing countries. The United States has pledged $50 million to this effort and will work with others to meet the $100 million target by the opening of the next NPT Review Conference.

Historically, the United States has been the single largest contributor to the IAEA’s technical cooperation programs. These programs enable more than 100 states to enjoy the benefits of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. In addition to its assessed annual contribution to the IAEA, the United States provides more than $20 million each year in extra budgetary funding for IAEA technical cooperation programs alone, about 25 percent of the total contributions. The new U.S. pledge is in addition to this long-standing support, and it represents a significant addition to our current annual commitment to the IAEA’s technical cooperation fund. The United States is taking this step in recognition of the growing international interest in power and non-power uses of nuclear energy and the NPT’s promise of peaceful nuclear sharing with nations that abide by their nuclear non-proliferation commitments. As President Obama said in Prague in April 2009, access to peaceful nuclear energy “must be the right of every nation that renounces nuclear weapons, especially developing countries embarking on peaceful programs.”

PRN: 2010/557