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News Release


Release No: 200-95
April 14, 1995




Indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), without conditions, is vital to the maintenance of international security. Rhetoric that seeks to use the NPT as a "bargaining chip" ignores a fundamental fact: the international community cannot afford to lose the NPT.

The NPT works. The tide of nuclear proliferation has turned. For example:

. The Cold War is over and the nuclear arms race has ended.

. The United States and Russia are reducing nuclear stockpiles at unprecedented rates.

. Only one nuclear power - Russia - emerged from the breakup of the Soviet Union. The other former Soviet states joined the NPT as non-nuclear weapon states and the withdrawal of nuclear weapons located on the territory of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine is well underway.

. Under the US-DPRK Agreed Framework, North Korea has halted, and committed to dismantle, its dangerous nuclear program.

. The UN continues monitoring the elimination of Iraq's nuclear, chemical, biological and missile capabilities.

. South Africa has destroyed its nuclear weapons and adhered to the Treaty.

By offering a nearly universal, internationally verified barrier against nuclear proliferation, the NPT makes a major contribution to international stability and provides the best security environment in which to make further reductions in nuclear arms.

The US takes its Article VI commitments very seriously and has compiled a strong record of accomplishment. For example:

. The United States is dismantling up to 2,000 nuclear weapons a year.

. Since 1988, the United States has reduced defense expenditures for strategic nuclear weapons by almost two-thirds.

. Since 1988, the United States has cut military personnel performing duties with strategic nuclear forces by over two-thirds.

. Since 1988, the United States has reduced its active strategic nuclear stockpile nearly 60 percent, and its non-strategic nuclear stockpile by 90 percent.

. By 2003, with the implementation of START II, the United States will have reduced its total nuclear forces by 80 percent.

. The United States has not tested a nuclear weapon in almost three years. We are committed to the negotiation of a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty (CTBT). To underscore our determination to achieve a CTBT as soon as possible, the President of the United States recently:

. extended the moratorium on U.S. nuclear testing,

. proposed that the Conference on Disarmament (CD) remain in session through the summer to continue work on a CTBT, and

. withdrew an earlier U.S. proposal for a special "right of withdrawal" from the CTBT Treaty 10 years after it enters into force.

. The United States does not produce fissile material for nuclear explosive purposes and actively supports CD negotiations on a fissile material cut-off convention. The United States recently committed to remove 200 metric tons of fissile material from its nuclear stockpile.

. The United States is not manufacturing new nuclear weapons and has halted research and development of third generation weapons.

. U.S. nuclear weapons are not targeted against any country.

. U.S. bombers no longer stand on day-to-day alert.

. At their September 1994 summit meeting, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin confirmed their intention to seek early ratification of START II. They also instructed their experts to discuss concrete steps to adapt their nuclear forces to the new environment, including possible further reductions once START II is ratified.

. The United States has reaffirmed its commitment, as stated in Article VI, to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to nuclear disarmament, which remains our ultimate goal.

. The United States has reaffirmed long-standing policies on negative and positive security assurances for non-nuclear weapon states which are parties to the NPT. The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that recognized those security assurances.

The NPT is a success because it has frozen horizontal proliferation and created an environment that enabled the nuclear weapon states to reduce their stockpiles. The unprecedented nuclear reductions of the past few years would not have been possible in a world of 20 or 30 nuclear weapons states. Indefinite extension of the NPT will ensure that these favorable conditions will continue.

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