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Letter to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference

May 03, 2010

To the participants of the NPT Review Conference,

Forty years after the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty entered into force, we have come together to answer a simple question with consequences for us all: as individual nations and as an international community, will we uphold the rights and responsibilities of all nations in order to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons?

For four decades, the NPT has been the cornerstone of our collective efforts to prevent the proliferation of these weapons. But today, this regime is under increasing pressure. A year ago in Prague, I therefore made it a priority of the United States to strengthen each of the treaty's key pillars as we work to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and to pursue the peace and security of a world without them.

Over the coming weeks, we will see whether nations with nuclear weapons will fulfill their NPT obligations to move toward nuclear disarmament. Building on our new START Treaty with Russia and our Nuclear Posture Review, which reaffirms the central importance of the NPT, the United States is meeting its responsibilities and setting the stage for further cuts.

We will see whether nations without nuclear weapons will fulfill their obligation to forsake them. History shows that nations that pursue this path find greater security and opportunity as an integrated member of the international community. Nations that ignore their obligations find themselves less secure, less prosperous and more isolated. That is the choice nations must make.

Finally, we will work to ensure that nations that abide by their obligations can access peaceful nuclear energy. The United States is committed to this goal and will pursue a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation that permits nations that uphold their responsibilities to enjoy the peaceful uses of the atom.

Today, the eyes of the world are upon us. Over the coming weeks, each of our nations will have the opportunity to show where we stand. Will we meet our responsibilities or shirk them? Will we ensure the rights of nations or undermine them? In short, do we seek a 21st century of more nuclear weapons or a world without them?

These are the questions we must answer, the challenges we must meet. At this conference and beyond, let us come together, in partnership, to pursue the peace and security that our people deserve.


President Barack Obama

Note: An original was not available for verification of the content of this letter.

Barack Obama, Letter to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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