Friday, September 11, 2009

Africa now nuclear weapons free zone

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Thirteen years after it opened for signature, the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty has finally come into force, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said on Wednesday.

This follows ratification of the treaty by Burundi last month, the ISS said in a statement.

"The treaty, which covers the entire African continent as well as its surrounding islands, ensures that nuclear weapons are not developed, produced, tested, or otherwise acquired or stationed in any of the countries on the continent."

For the treaty to come into effect, a total of 28 or more countries -- of the 53 who have signed the document -- had to ratify it. Burundi was the 28th, the ISS said.

Among other things, the treaty supports the use of nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes, and requires each party to "conduct all activities for the peaceful use of nuclear energy under strict non-proliferation measures".

It will also prevent any foreign naval ship or vessel carrying nuclear weapons entering an African port without prior permission.

"Countries allowing that - without the vessels having obtained prior permission - would be breaking international law," ISS official Amelia Broodryk told Sapa.