The foundation for the NPT is the strong belief of the international community that the proliferation of nuclear weapons is detrimental to international peace and security. Virtually the entire globe has foresworn nuclear weapons and has accepted the political and legal undertakings of the NPT as a means of enforcing that commitment. In the past ten years, we have witnessed Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine foreswearing the nuclear weapons that had been deployed on their territory. South Africa took the unprecedented step of dismantling its nuclear weapons, while Argentina and Brazil created a unique bilateral arrangement to promote transparency and cooperation. All have now joined the N-PT. Each of these actions is an extraordinary accomplishment.
Steady progress toward universality has been made since the NPT entered into force. By 1995, there were more than 175 parties -- many countries previously opposed to the Treaty had changed their minds and had joined, including all five of the nuclear weapon states identified in the Treaty. Since the 1995 NPT Conference, when universality was declared to be an urgent goal, nine more countries have become parties: Andorra, Angola, Brazil, Chile, Comoros, Djibouti, Oman, UAE, and Vanuatu. Only Cuba, India, Israel, and Pakistan remain outside the NPT regime. The United States remains committed to the universality of the NPT and urges these remaining four countries to become parties to the NPT as soon as possible.
On the question of nonproliferation, no one can dispute that in the past year, the region that has posed the greatest challenge to this norm is South Asia. The nuclear tests in South Asia underscore that nonproliferation is both a regional problem and a global problem. Not only has this issue been addressed by the UN General Assembly and communiqués from numerous international fora, but there exists the consensus UN Security Council resolution 1172 which urged India and Pakistan to take a series of steps, including to signing and ratifying the CTBT, to refrain from the deployment of nuclear weapons, to halt the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, and to join the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states. Moreover, India and Pakistan must be denied any benefits or rewards as a result of their actions. This includes continuing to deny either country the benefit of civil nuclear cooperation which should be reserved for NPT parties. Security Council Resolution 1172 makes clear that India and Pakistan do not have the status of nuclear weapon states in accordance with the NPT. Ensuring the continued integrity of the NPT and our common goal of preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons in South Asia and other regions demand that this principle be upheld.
Let me now turn to Articles I and II, which form the core of the NPT's provisions to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Compliance with Articles I and 11 is essential. A treaty that is widely adhered to but not commonly observed is of little value. Compliance, strict compliance, is an absolute requirement.
Article I sets forth the nonproliferation undertakings of the nuclear weapon states. The United States goes to scrupulous extremes to ensure compliance with Article 1. For example, we implement a comprehensive nuclear export control system and rigorous controls for protecting information related to nuclear weapons. These controls on nuclear equipment, material, and technology that could be used to manufacture nuclear weapons or produce fissile material help to ensure that entities under our jurisdiction do not provide assistance to non-nuclear-weapon states in the acquisition or manufacture of nuclear explosive devices. They have been effective, although no system is perfect. Improvements have been made, as necessary, in response to advances in technology, and changing procurement patterns of proliferant states, and as weaknesses become apparent.
Moreover, the United States engages in no nuclear cooperation with countries that have unsafeguarded nuclear facilities. We reject entirely Iraq's self-serving suggestions to the contrary or any suggestions that the United States is not in compliance with its Article I obligations.
Regarding compliance with Article 11, NPT parties have faced two serious breaches of the Treaty in the 1990s as first Iraq and then North Korea were found in noncompliance. These acts, in two different regions of the world, underscore again that the problem of nuclear weapons proliferation is not exclusive to any specific region.
Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, remains dangerous, unreconstructed, defiant and isolated. It was found in non-compliance with the NPT by the United Nations Security Council in 199 1. The Security Council also authorized the United Nations Special Commission and the LAEA to conduct inspections in Iraq to destroy, remove, or render harmless, all weapons of mass destruction and related components and research, development, support, or manufacturing facilities. Iraq refuses to permit these inspections to proceed.
Because of Iraq's non-cooperation, there are no inspectors in Iraq and we do not know what weapons Saddam Hussein might be building. Because of Iraq's noncompliance with UNSC resolutions, Saddam Hussein remains a threat to the region. Iraq should immediately allow the inspectors from the IAEA and UNSCOM to return to Iraq without conditions or obstruction. Both the IAEA and UNSCOM should be permitted to perform the important tasks mandated them by the Security Council in resolutions 687, 707, 715, and other relevant resolutions.
The DPRK, too, is not in full compliance with its NPT obligations. The Director General of the IAEA continues to report lack of progress in IAEA-DPRK technical discussions, although its inspectors continue to monitor the freeze on DPRK graphite moderated reactors and related facilities that was established in the U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework. The United States remains concerned about DPRK nuclear activities and recently has successfully concluded negotiations with the DPRK to permit multiple site visits to a site in the DPRK until suspicions about the site are fully removed. We attach great importance to the Agreed Framework, under which the DPRK committed itself to remain a party to the NPT and to come into full compliance with its safeguards agreement. Full compliance by the DPRK with the NPT remains our goal.
Noncompliance with the NPT undermines regional and global security, but the real test for the parties to the NPT is whether they react effectively to such acts of noncompliance. NPT parties must be prepared to bring these concerns forward, including referring concerns over noncompliance to the UN Security Council, where appropriate, and to encourage the Council to take whatever action is deemed necessary to enforce the basic nonproliferation undertakings of the Treaty.
In conclusion, I want to reinforce that ensuring adherence to nonproliferation norms is a global concern. It is also an issue of regional significance -- questions of non-adherence to the NPT cut across the Middle East, South Asia, and Latin America. Similarly, issues of compliance with nonproliferation obligations have regional dimensions, as evidenced by our efforts to address problems in North-east Asia and the Middle East.
As we continue to address nonproliferation issues, we should bear in mind that the NPT is not a static Treaty. Moreover, we all have been working since 1995 toward a Treaty review process which has depth and an enhanced focus on the future of the Treaty. And from the numerous statements made at this meeting endorsing the importance of "looking forward," it is abundantly clear to my delegation that NPT parties intend for the 2000 NPT Review Conference process to be as dynamic as possible. As we continue our efforts to prepare for the 2000 NPT Review Conference, it is important that we remain flexible enough to allow our work to reflect and to adapt to changing global and regional circumstances.
Our mutual goal of a world free of nuclear weapons requires, as a key element, that the spread of nuclear weapons to additional countries be checked. Increased vigilance on nonproliferation is essential to achieving the goals set out in Article VI -nuclear disarmament and a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control. It is important that we all continue to support efforts to strengthen the NPT, including support for universality and compliance with Articles I and 11. We are prepared to work together on these common goals. With pragmatism and a cooperative approach, I am convinced that together we can chart a future course that ensures that the NPT will continue to provide important security benefits for all nations.