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Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
HISTORY AND PRESENT STATUS

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The NPT which was concluded in 1968 and entered into force in 1970 established an international framework for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. Its membership at the beginning of 1997 stood at 187. The NPT was extended indefinitely at the Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which was held in New York during April/May 1995.

South Africa shares the international community's concern about the spread of nuclear weapons and strongly advocates the concept of a nuclear weapon-free world. South Africa became a State Party to the NPT in July 1991.

OTHER DEPARTMENTS AND COOPERATING ORGANISATIONS

Department of Minerals and Energy (DME)
South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA)
Council for the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (NPC)

RELEVANT TREATIES/PROTOCOLS

Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)
Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

GENERAL COMMENTS

The South African delegation to the NPT Review and Extension Conference during April/May 1995 supported the view that the continued existence of the Treaty should not be placed in jeopardy and that the review and extension process should strengthen the non-proliferation regime. South Africa played an active role in the discussions resulting in the adoption of a set of "Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament". The "Principles and Objectives" focuses, inter alia, on adherence to the NPT, nuclear disarmament, the conclusion of the CTBT and the establishment of nuclear weapon-free zones. South Africa as a country which has voluntarily given up the nuclear weapons option, sees the decision to adopt these proposals as the beginning of the journey towards the achievement of the goals and obligations of the NPT.

South Africa also played an active role at the 2000 NPT Review Conference, which was successfully able to adopt a Final Document. At the Review Conference, South Africa together with its other partners in the so-called New Agenda Coalition (NAC) for the elimination of nuclear weapons (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, New Zealand, Mexico, Sweden) focused on the achievement of an unequivocal commitment from the Nuclear Weapon States (China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States) for the achievement of the elimination of nuclear weapons. South Africa and the other members of the NAC also focused on achieving agreement on a series of practical steps for the systematic and progressive efforts to implement the NPT’s Article VI nuclear disarmament provisions. The successful achievement of these objectives was instrumental in ensuring the success of the 2000 Review Conference.

The South African Government has since its inauguration in May 1994, committed itself to a policy of non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control which covers all weapons of mass destruction and extends to concerns relating to the proliferation of conventional weapons. This policy forms an integral part of its commitment to democracy, human rights, sustainable development, social justice and environmental protection.

A primary goal of South Africa's policy is to reinforce and promote South Africa as a responsible producer, possessor and trader of defence-related products and advanced technologies in the nuclear, biological, chemical and missile fields. South Africa, in so doing, promotes the benefits which non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control hold for international peace and security, particularly to countries in Africa and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).