Recently, the foreign ministers of the five permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council issued a joint statement on the successful implementation 50 years ago of the first global arms-control treaty, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which came into force on March 5, 1970.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

OBJECTIVE: The NPT is a international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. LOCATION: Moscow, RussiaLondon, UK; and Washington DC, United States SIGNIFICANCE: This NPT represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States. TIMELINE: The Treaty was opened for signature in 1968, and was entered into force in 1970. Finally on 11 May 1995, the Treaty was extended indefinitely. MEMBERS: A total of 191 States have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States. SAFEGUARDS ENSURED: A safeguard system has been established by the Treaty under the responsibility of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Safeguards are used to verify compliance with the Treaty through inspections conducted by the IAEA TREATY STRUCTURE: The NPT consists of a preamble and eleven articles. Although the concept of “pillars” is not expressed anywhere in the NPT, the treaty is nevertheless sometimes interpreted as a three-pillar system, with an implicit balance among them: (i) Non-proliferation, (ii) Disarmament, and (iii) The right to peacefully use nuclear technology. THE NUCLEAR-WEAPON STATES: The treaty defines nuclear-weapon states as those that have built and tested a nuclear explosive device before 1 January 1967; these are the China (signed 1992)France (1992), the Soviet Union (1968; obligations and rights now assumed by the Russian Federation)the United Kingdom (1968), and the United States (1968), which also happen to be the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Apart from above, four other states that are known or believed to possess nuclear weapons: India, Pakistan, and North Korea have openly tested and declared that they possess nuclear weapons, while Israel is deliberately ambiguous regarding its nuclear weapons status. 

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