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Nuclear Powers Promise To Give Up Weapons
From the Press Association
The nuclear powers have, for the first time, made an "unequivocal" commitment to eliminate their arsenals.
The agreement, by the 187 signatories to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, was reached after all-night deliberations and intense pressure on Iraq and the United States to settle a dispute over Baghdad's nuclear compliance.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said: "It (the agreement) marks a significant step forward in humanity's pursuit of a more peaceful world - a world free of nuclear dangers, a world with strengthened global norms for nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament."
The five-year conference to review the global treaty is aimed at controlling and ultimately eliminating nuclear weapons.
Even though the agreement gives no timetable, it marks the first public statement by the major nuclear powers of their obligation to total disarmament.
India, Pakistan, Israel, and Cuba are the only countries who have not signed the treaty which was set up in 1970.
The nuclear haves and have-nots also agreed on other important steps, including: a moratorium on weapons testing, pending the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; further reductions of tactical nuclear weapons; and increased transparency by the nuclear powers on reporting about their arsenals.
They also agreed to permanently and irreversibly remove plutonium and uranium from nuclear warheads, and to negotiate within the next five years a treaty banning production of these fissile materials for weapons.