Tracking Number:  386876

Title:  "Security Council Gives Assurances in Case of Nuclear Attack." The UN Security Council has approved a series of measures the five nuclear powers could consider undertaking if members of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are attacked with nuclear weapons. (950411)

Translated Title:  Les garanties du Conseil de Securite en cas d'attaque nucleaire. (950411)
Date:  19950411

SECURITY COUNCIL GIVES ASSURANCES IN CASE OF NUCLEAR ATTACK (Vote tied to upcoming NPT extension conference) (840) By Judy Aita USIA United Nations Correspondent United Nations -- Recognizing the legitimate concerns of non-nuclear weapon states, the U.N. Security Council April 11 unanimously adopted a resolution sponsored by the five nuclear powers setting out a series of measures the five would consider undertaking if states who are parties to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are threatened or attacked with nuclear weapons.

"Today we have taken an important step toward making the world safe from the use of nuclear weapons," U.S. Ambassador Edward Gnehm said after the vote.

"This resolution recognizes the legitimate interest of the non-nuclear weapons states in receiving assurances from the nuclear weapon states," Gnehm said. "It promises that, in the event that the non-nuclear weapons states are the victims of an act or a threat of nuclear aggression, the Security Council -- and above all its nuclear-weapon members -- will be immediately involved."

The five nuclear states -- China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States -- presented the resolution for a vote less than a week before the more than 170 parties to the NPT hold their 1995 review and extension conference to determine the fate of the treaty. The assurances by the five and the Security Council on behalf of the international community are considered by many parties to the treaty as crucial if the NPT is to be extended indefinitely at the conclusion of the conference. The five are seeking an indefinite extension of the 25-year-old treaty.

The new resolution updates and extends resolution 255, which was adopted by the council in 1968 with France and China abstaining. The new resolution unifies the permanent five as co-sponsors. It obligates the Security Council to consider appropriate measures if nuclear weapons are used or threatened in international politics.

According to the resolution, number 984, if any NPT party is threatened with nuclear weapons, the nuclear states promise that they will bring the matter to the Security Council to get help for the victim. Assistance could include efforts to settle the dispute and restore international peace and security as well as provision of technical, medical, scientific or humanitarian aid and compensation from the aggressor for loss, damage or injury from the attack.

The resolution also "welcomes the intention expressed by certain states that they will provide or support immediate assistance" to the victim of a nuclear attack. It reaffirms the right inherent in the U.N. Charter for individual and collective self-defense in case of an armed attack.

The resolution urges all states to pursue good faith negotiations on nuclear disarmament and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

The resolution, which offers the "positive assurances" by the five, was accompanied by individual statements issued in the capitals of the five offering so-called "negative security assurances" that became part of the council's record. The "negative assurances" include the promise by the U.S., France, Britain, and Russia that they will not use nuclear weapons against the other NPT states except in the case of invasion or attack by them in association with a nuclear-weapon state.

During the half-day debate on the resolution, states parties to the treaty, as well as India and Pakistan, who are not part of the NPT regime, commented on the security assurances. The comments reflected the wide range of views throughout the international community, ranging from Hungary's assessment that the resolution was "of great historic significance" that puts potential nuclear aggressors on notice, to Egypt's estimation that the resolution lacks both form and substance.

Indonesia, a council member who spoke on behalf of the Non-aligned Movement states who are NPT parties, welcomed the individual so-called negative assurances as reflecting "concerted and serious efforts by the nuclear-weapon states to assuage the concerns of the non-nuclear-weapon states to ensure their security," but it lamented that they were unilateral and non-binding.

The non-aligned NPT parties see the resolution by the Security Council "well-intentioned," but a "more far-reaching action will be needed to ensure the security of all nations," Indonesian Ambassador Nugroho Wisnumurti said.

"Nonetheless, we recognize that the draft resolution constitutes an initial step toward a legally binding international instrument which should be broader in scope and multilaterally negotiated," Wisnumurti said.

Declaring that "the nuclear arms race is over," Gnehm reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the section of the NPT which calls for good faith negotiations aimed at nuclear disarmament.

"We are also actively involved in negotiations to achieve a Comprehensive Test Ban and a treaty on the Cut-off of Fissile Material. We have joined France, the U.K., and the Russian Federation in reaffirming these goals in a joint declaration in Geneva on April 6. And we are committed to ratify the START II Treaty and go beyond it," the U.S. ambassador said.