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U.S. proposes more anti-nuclear efforts at U.N.

The U.S. circulated a draft U.N. resolution Friday calling for increased efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons in advance of a meeting of world leaders this month chaired by President Obama.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The United States circulated a draft U.N. resolution Friday calling for stepped-up efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons that it hopes will be adopted by world leaders at a meeting later this month chaired by President Barack Obama.

The draft, obtained by The Associated Press, does not mention any country by name but it reaffirms previous Security Council resolutions that imposed sanctions on Iran and North Korea for their nuclear activities. It does not call for any new sanctions.

Another provision, apparently aimed at Iran and North Korea, "deplores" the current major challenges to nuclear nonproliferation that the council has determined to be threats to international peace and security. It "demands that the parties concerned comply fully with their obligations under the relevant Security Council resolutions."

The United States, which holds the Security Council presidency this month, chose nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament as the topic for a high-level council meeting to be held Sept. 24 on the sidelines of the annual ministerial meeting of the U.N. General Assembly.

The draft resolution was circulated Friday to the 14 other council members, and council experts immediately began discussions.

China balked on North Korea
A diplomat familiar with the negotiations said the five veto-wielding council nations — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France — agreed on most provisions before the draft was circulated, but China objected to including the resolutions related to North Korea. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations have been conducted behind closed doors.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said earlier this month that the U.S. considers nonproliferation and disarmament major challenges of the 21st century, citing Obama's April 5 speech in the Czech Republic, in which he pledged to eventually eliminate nuclear weapons.

In the Prague speech, Obama also called for the slashing of U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, adoption of the treaty banning all nuclear tests, and negotiations on a new treaty that "verifiably" ends the production of fissile materials used to make atomic weapons.

The draft resolution welcomes the U.S.-Russia negotiations, calls on all countries to refrain from conducting nuclear tests and join the test ban treaty, and urges the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva to negotiate a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices "as soon as possible."

'World without nuclear weapons'
In its opening paragraph, the draft states that the Security Council is committed "to seek a safer world for all and to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons" in accordance with the goals of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

The treaty, known as the NPT, requires signatory nations not to pursue nuclear weapons in exchange for a commitment by the five nuclear powers to move toward nuclear disarmament. States without nuclear weapons are guaranteed access to peaceful nuclear technology to produce nuclear power.

It calls on all countries that are parties to the treaty to comply fully with their obligations and cooperate so that next year's review conference can strengthen the NPT.

The draft calls on all countries that are not parties to join the treaty "to achieve its universality at an early date, and in any case to adhere to its terms."

The major countries that are not members are India and Pakistan, which have conducted nuclear tests, and Israel, which is believed to have a nuclear arsenal.

In an apparent reference to North Korea, which withdrew from the NPT, the draft says the council will address "without delay any state's notice of withdrawal from the NPT" and it notes that the issue will be discussed at the review conference.

The draft also calls on all countries to step up cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and adopt its additional protocol, which allows the U.N. nuclear watchdog to conduct inspections of suspect nuclear material and sites anytime and anywhere.

It also emphasizes that any issue of non-compliance with the NPT must be brought to the attention of the Security Council "which will determine if that situation constitutes a threat to international peace and security."