Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968)


The United States, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom signed the treaty, which limits the spread of military nuclear technology by the recognized nuclear-weapon states - U.S., U.S.S.R., U.K., France and China - to non-nuclear nations wishing to build or acquire atomic weapons. Non-weapon states agree not to get nuclear arms and countries with nuclear weapons will negotiate for disarmament. It said countries without nuclear weapons will allow the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency to oversee their nuclear facilities. Countries also should exchange peaceful nuclear technology. It has since been signed by 187 countries and was extended indefinitely in May 1995. India, Pakistan, Israel and Cuba are the only countries that haven't signed on. India and Pakistan tested nuclear devices in 1998, and Israel is believed to have nuclear capability.


The NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. The Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States. Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970. A total of 187 parties have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States. More countries have ratified the NPT than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement, a testament to the Treaty's significance.

To further the goal of non-proliferation and as a confidence-building measure between States parties, the Treaty establishes a safeguards system under the responsibility of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Safeguards are used to verify compliance with the Treaty through inspections conducted by the IAEA. The Treaty promotes co-operation in the field of peaceful nuclear technology and equal access to this technology for all States parties, while safeguards prevent the diversion of fissile material for weapons use.

The provisions of the Treaty, particularly article VIII, paragraph 3, envisage a review of the operation of the Treaty every five years, a provision which was reaffirmed by the States parties at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference.

The 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) met at the United Nations in New York from 24 April to 19 May 2000. The Conference was the first to meet following the Treaty's indefinite extension at the 1995 Conference. States parties examined the implementation of the Treaty's provisions since 1995, taking into account the decisions on the principles and objectives for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and the strengthening of the review process for the Treaty as well as the resolution on the Middle East adopted at the 1995 Conference.

Source: Department of State