India, Pakistan named holdouts

Express/reuters May 26, 2010

UNITED NATIONS: A draft declaration prepared by conference president Libran Cabactulan fails to mention Iran or its nuclear program, though it names India, Pakistan and Israel as holdouts of the 2010 Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a landmark arms-control pact that has been the focus of a month-long conference and review wrapping up this week.

“The conference calls upon India, Israel and Pakistan to accede to the treaty as non-nuclear weapon states, promptly and without conditions, thereby accepting an internationally legally binding commitment not to acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices,” the first draft of the document said. “The conference also calls upon India and Pakistan to maintain moratoriums on nuclear testing and calls upon India, Israel and Pakistan to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) without delay and without conditions,” it said.

According to the Times of India (TOI), a western diplomat said that there were countries, which had accepted that India and Pakistan were not going to become part of the treaty and suggested a new track to rein them into the non-proliferation regime. “We are going to try and put them in a cooperation system with obligations so that they would have the same obligations that NPT countries have, without being in the NPT,” he said, noting that such an agreement was better than doing nothing, reported TOI.

The draft also names North Korea, which pulled out of the NPT several years ago. Despite growing concerns that it might be developing atomic weapons, Iran may escape censure at the meeting of a global anti-nuclear arms pact, according to the draft declaration. In February 2006, the governing board of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) adopted a resolution that referred Tehran’s nuclear program to the Security Council due to what it said were “Iran’s many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply with its NPT Safeguards Agreement.” The IAEA resolution also opened the door to three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions against Tehran.

The council is currently negotiating a fourth round of sanctions. Delegates say they hope a final version of the declaration, which calls for improved compliance with the treaty and further disarmament steps, can be agreed before the NPT conference ends on Friday.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 27th, 2010.