Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

22 April 2003

Background Release


NEW YORK, 22 April (Department of Disarmament Affairs) -- The Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will hold its second session from 28 April to 9 May 2003 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.  The Chairman of the second session is Ambassador László Molnár of Hungary.  The Preparatory Committee, open to all States parties to the Treaty, will address substantive and procedural issues related to the Treaty and the upcoming Review Conference in 2005.  The NPT, which entered into force in 1970 and was extended indefinitely in 1995, requires that review conferences be held every five years.

The purpose of the PrepCom is to prepare for the Review Conference in terms of assessing the implementation of each article of the NPT and facilitating discussion among States parties prior to the start of the Conference.  The April/May 2003 meeting is the second of three sessions that will be held prior to the 2005 Review Conference.  The first session was held from 8 to 19 April 2002 at United Nations Headquarters in New York.


At the 2000 NPT Review Conference, States parties agreed on a final document that included specific commitments to work towards the Treaty’s overall goals of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.  The document included the historic 13 “practical steps” towards nuclear disarmament, specifically the implementation of article VI of the NPT, and paragraphs 3 and 4 of the 1995 Decision on “Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament”.

The 13 steps include action to be taken in the areas of nuclear testing, existingweapon-related stocks, verification and transparency, and the role of nuclear weapons in national security policy.  The 2000 NPT Review Conference also reaffirmed the importance of the resolution on the Middle East, adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference.  The 2000 Final Document also addressed measures to improve the review process for the NPT, specifically the consideration during each meeting of the Preparatory Committee of substantive issues related to the implementation of the Treaty and the outcome of the review conferences.


On the issue of universality, States parties [at the 2002 PrepCom] reaffirmed the importance of the resolution on the Middle East adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference and recognized that the resolution remained valid until its goals and objectives were achieved.  States parties reiterated their support for the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons, as well as other weapons of mass destruction.

Further information may be found at the following Web page:  http://disarmament.un.org/wmd/npt/index.html

Also contact:  (until 23 April) Sari Nurro, Department for Disarmament Affairs (New York), (212) 963-9678; (after 24 April), Department for Disarmament Affairs (Geneva), (41-22) 917-5801, 4026, 3038.

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