Nuclear non-proliferation treaty an ‘essential pillar’ of international peace, says UN chief

UN Photo/Milton Grant
Sculpture depicting St. George slaying the dragon. The dragon is created from fragments of Soviet SS-20 and United States Pershing nuclear missiles.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

On the 50th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres urged all State parties to ensure the Treaty’s continued strength and importance in the years ahead.

In a statement by his spokesperson, Secretary-General Guterres said that the NPT is an “essential pillar” of international peace and security, and the “heart” of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.

Its unique status is based on its near universal membership, legally-binding obligations on disarmament, verifiable non-proliferation safeguards regime, and commitment to the peaceful use of nuclear energy,” he highlighted.

In the statement, Mr. Guterres also welcomed the joint statement by the NPT’s depositories – Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – including their recommitment to the elimination of nuclear weapons, a central priority of his agenda for disarmament, Securing our Common Future, which he unveiled in May.

The NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament.

It represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States. Since opening for signature on 1 July 1968, 191 States have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States. More countries have ratified the NPT than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement.

NPT entered into force in 1970 and in May 1995, it was extended indefinitely.

In 2020, the review conference of the Treaty will be held, during which the States parties will examine the implementation of its provisions.

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