THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON EXTENSION OF NUCLEAR NON- PROLIFERATION TREATY
Today in New York the nations of the world made history. The decision by consensus to extend indefinitely the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty without conditions is a critical step in making the American people -- and people throughout the world -- more safe and secure. It will build a better future for our children and the generations to come.
Indefinite extension of the NPT has been a central priority of my Administration -- the primary item on the most ambitious arms control agenda since the dawn of the nuclear age. For 25 years, the NPT has been the cornerstone of global efforts to reduce the danger of nuclear weapons. Today's overwhelming consensus in favor of making the treaty permanent testifies to a deep and abiding international commitment to confront the danger posed by nuclear weapons.
It is fitting that we should do this today. This week, all the world's peoples have joined together to commemorate the events of 50 years ago, when the allied forces defeated fascism but much of the world lay shattered by war and shrouded by the dawn of the atomic age. After five decades of Cold War competition and the specter of nuclear holocaust between East and West, the decision to make the Non-Proliferation Treaty permanent opens a new and more hopeful chapter in our history.
The nuclear danger has not ended. The capability to build nuclear weapons cannot be unlearned, nor will evil ambition disappear. But the overwhelming consensus in favor of the Treaty and its future attests to a deep and abiding international commitment to confront the nuclear danger by rejecting nuclear proliferation. This decision says to our children and all who follow: the community of nations will remain steadfast in opposing the dangerous spread of nuclear weapons.
I am especially pleased to receive this news in Kiev, for Ukraine's adherence to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapons state and its action to bring START I into force were major contributions to the effort to achieve indefinite extension of the Treaty. I want once more to thank President Kuchma for these important and positive steps.
This moment also owes much to the progress made by the United States and Russia in reducing and dismantling strategic nuclear arsenals. As one of the three depositaries of the NPT, Russia has worked closely with us and others to bring about the Treaty's indefinite extension.
This event is a victory for all. I want to express my appreciation to all of the countries who worked hard to achieve a successful outcome to the NPT Extension Conference, and who have made a decision that strengthens the security of every nation and of all people.