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News Update on IAEA and the NPT

Will To Disarm: Run-Up Meeting to 2005 NPT Review Conference

Parties to the global Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are meeting at the United Nations in Geneva on 28 April - 9 May 2003 to lay the groundwork for the Treaty's next Review Conference in 2005.

The NPT is considered by most States as the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. Every five years, the Treaty's Parties, presently 188 States, meet to review its implementation. The next such Review Conference is due in 2005. The coming meeting in Geneva is the second of three scheduled Preparatory Committee, or "PrepCom", meetings open to all NPT Parties.

The Treaty entrusts the IAEA with specific roles as the international safeguards inspectorate and as a multilateral channel for transferring peaceful applications of nuclear technology:

NPT Article III: The IAEA administers international safeguards to verify that non-nuclear weapon States party to the NPT fulfill the non-proliferation commitment they have made, "with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices."

NPT Article IV: The Agency facilitates and provides a channel for endeavours aimed at "the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world."

In practical terms, the IAEA also is seen as having roles in connection with verification of nuclear-weapon-free zones and in the context of verifying ex-nuclear weapon material.

The Preparatory Committee session will hold its third session in New York on 26 April - 7 May 2004.