On behalf of the United States delegation I would like to join with others in congratulating you upon your election to the Chairmanship of this fourth meeting of the Preparatory Committee. Under your wise leadership, I am confident that we will complete our work on preparations for the Conference in April in a spirit which will carry over to the Conference itself, thus enabling us to pursue successfully the important goals which we all seek.
Since our last meeting, there have been further developments of importance for the NPT and for nuclear disarmament. Turkmenistan, Moldova, Ukraine, and Algeria have added their names to the roster of countries which believe that the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is a landmark covenant among nations preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. We salute these countries and we hope that other countries will become parties to the Treaty in the weeks to come.
Another event which must be mentioned in connection with the NPT is the exchange of instruments of ratification of the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START I) among the Presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, and the United States last month. This landmark agreement reduces by over 40 percent the total number of strategic warheads from United States and Russian arsenals. The Treaty has the most comprehensive inspection and monitoring regime ever agreed upon.
The entry into force of START I means that we can go forward with ratification of START II. This Treaty, when entered into force, will reduce the total number of warheads in Russia and the United States to no more than 3,500 and eliminate an entire category of very destabilizing weapons, the multiple warhead ICBM.
A third event of importance for the NPT since the last Preparatory Committee meeting was the September Summit meeting between Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin. At this meeting the two Presidents agreed that the United States and Russia should intensify their dialogues to compare conceptual approaches and to develop concrete steps to adapt their nuclear forces and practices to the changed international security environment, including the possibility, after ratification of START II, of further reductions of, and limitations on, remaining nuclear forces. They also confirmed their intention to seek early ratification of START II and expressed their desire to exchange START II instruments of ratification at their next summit meeting.
Over the course of the last five years, the United States has engaged in nuclear disarmament on an unprecedented scale -- some related to international agreements that have been concluded, while others are unilateral in nature. Examples include:
-- The United States is dismantling up to 2,000 nuclear weapons per year.
-- The United States no longer produces fissile material for nuclear weapons purposes and has offered to help Russia obtain alternative power sources for its three remaining military production reactors.
-- The United States has placed nuclear material in excess of defense needs under IAEA safeguards, including highly enriched uranium and plutonium. The IAEA now undertakes monthly safeguards inspections at these storage sites. The United States expects to place additional quantities of excess materials under IAEA safeguards in 1995.
-- United States bombers no longer standing on day-to-day alert.
-- Neither United States nor Russian strategic missiles are targeted against any specific country any longer.
Since 1988, the United States has reduced its total active warhead stockpile by 59 percent and will further reduce its arsenal by 79 percent by 2003 with the implementation of START II. The United States has reduced its strategic warhead inventory by 47 percent, and will reduce this category of weapons by 71 percent under START II. Warheads in non-strategic nuclear forces have been reduced by 90 percent. In addition, the United States and Russia have greatly advanced efforts toward further transparency and irreversibility of nuclear arms reductions. As for the future, the United States is committed to greater progress in arms control.
More specifically, the United States hopes that a CTBT will be achieved as soon as possible to be followed by a multilateral treaty to prohibit the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. On security assurances, the United States is particularly aware of the importance which NPT non-nuclear-weapon states place on this issue. Serious discussion among the P-5 have been ongoing in Geneva on the margins of the Conference on Disarmament. Significant progress has been made and many ideas are being examined. Indefinite extension of the NPT is an absolute requirement to maintain a stable strategic environment that will be conducive to further progress on these and other arms control measures.
Achieving indefinite extension at the NPT Conference this year is one of the major objectives of United States foreign policy. A strong durable NPT, we believe, is essential to global security, as well as to the peace and stability of the entire world.