Step Follows Accession to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Last Year
Cuba, which acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons late last year, signed the related comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA 18 September. The country also signed an Additional Protocol to the agreement that grants the IAEA inspection rights beyond those in the safeguards agreement alone. Cuba is the 77th country to have signed an Additional Protocol.
The move is being welcomed at the IAEA General Conference, where a pending committee resolution hails Cuba's action as "a substantial contribution" to strengthening the IAEA safeguards system, and to consolidating the world's first densely inhabited nuclear-weapon-free-zone (NWFZ) in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The NWFZ, chartered in the Treaty of Tlatelolco, is administered by the Organization for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL), which holds its next meeting in Havana in early November 2003. The official acknowledgement of the zone's now historical status is expected to be made there.