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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

June 3, 1998

Egypt: Nuke tests undermines NPT


Egypt yesterday renewed its vehement opposition to nuclear testings and said these tests threw into question the credibility of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

    Addressing a disarmament forum in the Swiss capital, Munir Zahran, Egypt's permanent delegate to the UN, demanded all countries to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and get all States with nuclear capabilities, especially Israel, to join the NPT.

    Meanwhile, over 40 member States of the Conference on Disarmament (CD), including the five major nuclear powers, yesterday called on India and Pakistan to cease nuclear testing and renounce their atomic weapons programmes.

    Australia and New Zealand tabled the text, which condemned "all nuclear testing", and also urged India and Pakistan to immediately join the two major global arms control pacts.

    The five major nuclear powers; Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, formally supported the statement at the United Nations sponsored forum.

    Germany, Japan and Italy, as well as major non-aligned States, including Brazil, Mexico and South Africa also endorsed the text at the 61-member body.

    "It is important that such a large number of countries have endorsed the text. We commend this", US disarmament ambassador Robert Grey told reporters.

    "What we do not accept is to be equated with India, because clearly there are strong differences between our reaction and India's actions", Pakistan's envoy Munir Akram told reporters.

    Akram called the International Community to deal with the security situation in South Asia comprehensively, including the imbalance in conventional arms and the dispute over Kashmir.

    Separately, a UN spokesman said Foreign Ministers from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, would meet in Geneva tomorrow afternoon to discuss the crisis.

    New Zealand Ambassador Clive Pearson read out the statement, endorsed by a total of 46 CD member States.

    "They are alarmed and deeply concerned at nuclear testing by India and Pakistan. They condemn all nuclear tests and consider such acts to be contrary to the international consensus which bans the testing of nuclear weapons and other explosive devices," read the one-page statement.

    "It is now crucial that India and Pakistan announce immediately a cessation to all further testing of these weapons, renounce their nuclear weapons programme and sign and ratify, unconditionally, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty", it added.

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