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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 22, 1996


United States, France and the United Kingdom to Sign Protocols

of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty

The governments of France, the United Kingdom and the United States will sign the three Protocols of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty in Suva, Fiji on March 25. This Treaty, which is also known as the Treaty of Rarotonga, creates a nuclear free zone in the South Pacific by prohibiting the testing, manufacture, acquisition and stationing of nuclear explosive devices in the territory of parties to the Treaty and the dumping of radioactive wastes at sea.

The Treaty has three Protocols. Under Protocol 1, the United States pledges not to manufacture, station, or test nuclear explosive devices in American territories within the Zone created by the Treaty, i.e., American Samoa and Jarvis Island. Under Protocol 2, the United States pledges not to use or threaten to use any nuclear explosive device against any party to the Treaty of Rarotonga or against any territory of a Protocol party within the Zone. Under Protocol 3, the United States pledges not to test any nuclear explosive device anywhere within the Zone.

The signing of these Protocols reflects a number of positive developments that have occurred over the past 10 years. The end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, sharp reductions in the number of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems, indefinite extension of and near universal adherence to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and progress on a comprehensive test ban treaty have all led to a more stable strategic environment in which further progress can be made on arms control and nonproliferation measures.

Signing the Protocols for the United States will be the Honorable Don Gevirtz, Ambassador of the United States of America to Fiji, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu. In his remarks, Ambassador Gevirtz will stress the important role that the nations of the South Pacific and the South Pacific Forum play in the international arena on arms control and nonproliferation measures and will cite specifically their strong support for indefinite extension of the NPT.

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