The African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Pelindaba, establishes a nuclear weapon free zone in Africa. Signature of the Treaty culminates a 32-year quest for a nuclear free Africa, beginning when the Organization of African Unity formally stated its desire for a Treaty ensuring the denuclearization of Africa at its first Summit in Cairo in July 1964. The United States has supported the concept of the denuclearization of Africa since the first United Nations General Assembly resolution on this issue in 1965 and has played an active role in drafting the final text of the Treaty and Protocols.
The Treaty prohibits the research, development, manufacture, stockpiling, acquisition, testing, possession, control or stationing of nuclear explosive devices in the territory of parties to the Treaty and the dumping of radioactive wastes in the African zone by Treaty parties. The Treaty also prohibits any attack against nuclear installations in the zone by Treaty parties and requires them to maintain the highest standards of physical protection of nuclear material, facilities and equipment, which are to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes. The Treaty requires all parties to apply full-scope international Atomic Energy Agency safeguards to all their peaceful nuclear activities. A mechanism to verify compliance, including the establishment of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy, has been established by the Treaty. The Treaty affirms the right of each party to decide for itself whether to allow visits by foreign ships and aircraft to its ports and airfields, explicitly upholds the freedom of navigation on the high seas and does not effect rights to passage through territorial waters guaranteed by international law.
The Treaty has three Protocols. Under Protocol I, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation and China are invited to agree not to use or threaten to use a nuclear explosive device against any Treaty party or against any territory of a Protocol III party within the African zone. Under Protocol II, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation and China are invited to agree not to test or assist or encourage the testing of a nuclear explosive device anywhere with the African zone. Protocol III is open to states with dependent territories in the zone and obligates them to observe certain provisions of the Treaty with respect to these territories; only Spain and France may become Parties to it.
The Treaty was opened for signature on April 11, 1996 in Cairo, Egypt. All the States of Africa are eligible to become parties to the Treaty, which with enter into force upon its 28th ratification; the Protocols with also into force at that time for those Protocol signatories that have deposited their instruments of ratification.