Fact Sheet
Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation
May 4, 2009

Background: The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was opened for signature in 1968, and currently has 190 Parties. The Treaty comprises legally binding non-proliferation commitments and is the basis for international cooperation on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. The President in Prague on April 5 said that the basic bargain at the core of the Treaty is sound: "countries with nuclear weapons will move towards disarmament; countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them; and all countries can access peaceful nuclear energy." The President also called on NPT parties to take immediate steps to strengthen this vital nonproliferation instrument.

The NPT Review Process: The Treaty provides for the Parties to gather every five years to review whether the purposes of the Preamble and the provisions of the Treaty are being realized. At the 1995 Review and Extension Conference, the Parties extended the Treaty indefinitely and formalized the practice of convening a Review Conference (RevCon) every five years and annual Preparatory Committees (PrepCom) in the three years before a RevCon. The third PrepCom completes the procedural preparations for the Review Conference. The next RevCon will take place in 2010.

Objectives: The objectives of the United States for this PrepCom are to finalize procedural issues, including the agenda, and elect a president of the RevCon. In addition, the United States will promote U.S. policy objectives by presenting working papers and statements addressing various aspects of the Treaty. The substantive NPT goals of the United States include:

  • Securing full compliance with Treaty provisions by all Parties;
  • Dissuading Parties from violating, and then withdrawing from, the Treaty;
  • Achieving universal adherence to safeguards required by the NPT and to the Additional Protocol;
  • Implementing effective export controls;
  • Combating nuclear terrorism;
  • Encouraging the peaceful use of nuclear energy;
  • Achieving universal membership of all States; and
  • Working, both individually and with other Parties, towards global nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.

The United States looks forward to working with other NPT Parties at the 2009 PrepCom and at the 2010 RevCon. These meetings are important milestones towards the realization of the President’s vision of a peaceful and secure world free of nuclear weapons.