Notwithstanding the title of my presentation, I won't address the entire arms control agenda this year. It is a full one, led by the comprehensive test ban negotiations, which I addressed at several press events surrounding my trip to the opening session of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva last month. The CTBT end-game is off to a good start.
We also have:
-- The Chemical Weapons Convention ratification effort
-- a very active role on the arms control elements of the Dayton agreement on Bosnia, and a number of other regional arms control and confidence building initiatives;
-- implementing START I, looking ahead to START II, and planning for the next phase in strategic arms control and disarmament;
-- ABM demarcation negotiations that have resumed back in the Standing Consultative Commission after several rounds of political level discussions;
-- CFE treaty issues, including the flanks problem and the May review conference;
-- negotiations on the Biological Weapons Convention;
-- a new arms control compliance report in the works;
-- and a growing and intensifying set of country- and regional-specific proliferation concerns.
Doubtless you'll have questions on these. First, however, let me briefly summarize several items that are on my mind and may be on yours.
First, I want to observe that as the NPT has been made permanent, quietly but emphatically the world has been moving to make it universal. Four more countries have joined since the New York Conference last May -- those are Chile, Comoros, the United Arab Emirates, and Vanuatu -- and we hope that four more (Andorra, Angola, Djibouti and Oman) -- will join soon. That would bring the total membership to 185, and leave only five countries outside.
To put this in perspective, though I have been on the job just over two years, I can recall pointing to a 165-member NPT as the most widely accepted arms control agreement in history. Obviously the extension conference was a a great impetus for more countries to join, and that has continued since.
Second, there has also been progress on more nuclear-weapon free zones.
Though we have operated consistently with it, the United States had declined to sign the protocols to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone ("SPNFZ") Treaty, known as the Treaty of Rarotonga. After the NPT was extended we intensified our reconsideration of that policy. The result is that the United States, France and the UK will sign the Protocols in the first half of this year. That, incidentally, will also make irreversible President Chirac's announcement that France is finished testing at its sites in the South Pacific.
Two other zones are under review, in Africa and Southeast Asia. For the Treaty of Pelindaba, the United States has a long history of supporting the denuclearization of Africa, dating to the first UNGA resolution on the subject in 1965. More recently, over a two-year period of the Treaty's development by an Experts Group, US delegations led by ACDA have been on hand to present U.S. views on the evolving text. Today, the United States is in the final stages of its assessment of the Treaty's conformity with our long-standing criteria for supporting such zones.
These same criteria are guiding us with respect to the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone ("SEANFWZ") Treaty, which the United States has said more than once it is prepared to consider. We have explained to the ASEAN states that the latest text of the treaty and protocol still does not meet all of our fundamental concerns. We hope these concerns will be adequately addressed. We want to take part in this Treaty as well.
We want that because the NPT and nuclear weapon free zones are mutually reinforcing. Such zones can be custom-tailored to regional concerns; they can prohibit deployments in their territories, and account for associated issues such as dumping of nuclear wastes. They oblige neighbor to neighbor, complementing the NPT's global norm. They have broadened the reach of the IAEA's safeguards regime. And they make adherence to the NPT more attractive and meaningful -- as the Non-Proliferation Treaty does for them.
Third, somewhat more broadly, I'd like to put in context some of our regional arms control and confidence building efforts -- a rather arcane realm that I venture to raise here because you follow these issues on a continuous basis.
Regional arms control is reflected in nuclear weapons free zones, and I think we should also be looking for zones free of other weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems which, however, will require additional verification entities.
I also see it as the most promising long term response to the thorny issue of conventional arms transfers. We need to keep working on the supply side, particularly on multilateral restraint, and have made some limited progress. But we need to also look at the demand side. We want to advance toward a condition when countries are not interested in buying everything some supplier is willing to sell. That means, first, resolving conflicts, and this Administration has made a major commitment to such endeavors in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, and elsewhere. It also means working on transparency and confidence and building measures, so that countries know more about the intentions and capabilities of their neighbors, and then moving toward self-imposed, reciprocal regional limitations on arms.
I just wanted to mention this because it puts in context such activities as our first arms control training course for officials of another government -- in this case sixteen Israelis -- which was completed just a couple of weeks ago. It also underscores why I attach such great importance, and have committed resources to, the arms control elements of the Bosnia settlement, and why we're working on the Northeast Asia Security Dialogue, the Asean Regional Forum, and similar efforts. For anyone who's thinking of working on a reflective piece about the arms control of the future, I commend this subject to you.