Project on European Nuclear Non-Proliferation - PENN

Press Release
12 May 1999


Egypt Proposes Ending NATO Nuclear Sharing

In a strongly worded statement criticizing NATO nuclear strategy, and the Alliance’s nuclear sharing arrangements, Egypt has formally proposed that the Preparatory Committee of the 2000 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference adopt an interpretation of the Treaty that would outlaw current NATO practices and possible future European Union nuclear weapons cooperation.

South Africa also made a statement condemning NATO policies and the revised Strategic Concept adopted at the recent NATO Summit in Washington DC. These statements followed others made Monday by the Non-Aligned Movement, Algeria and Mongolia.

Referring to Articles I and II of the NPT, which prohibit the transfer of nuclear weapons from nuclear weapon states to non-nuclear weapon states, Egypt emphasized that:

"Neither Article I nor Article II suffer any exceptions.

Notwithstanding the clear and unambiguous nature of Articles I & II of the NPT, NATO’s so-called ‘Nuclear Sharing’ arrangements and its concepts regarding nuclear deterrence, as reflected in its latest declaration on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary, raise significant doubts over the extent of compliance of some NATO members with the provisions of both of these Articles and the extent of conformity and compatibility of commitments undertaken by participants in such arrangements with the provisions of the NPT. Furthermore, Egypt is concerned about proposals for a Europeanized nuclear force based on the policy of ‘concerted
deterrence’. These questions need to be addressed by these nuclear and non-nuclear -weapon States.

The delegation of Egypt proposes that the PrepCom recommend that the 2000 Review Conference state in clear and unambiguous terms that Articles I and II of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons allow for no exceptions and that the NPT is binding on States Parties in times of peace and in times of war alike."

This would mean an end to the nuclear sharing arrangements under which non-nuclear weapon states in NATO receive US nuclear weapons and training in their use in support of NATO military doctrines. NATO argues that since actual control of nuclear weapons would only be transferred after the outbreak of war, and that the NPT is no longer in force during a war, that these arrangements are legal.

Criticism of NATO nuclear policies was also supported by South Africa during the disarmament debate. The South African statement recalled their earlier concerns ".. placed on record at the previous two PrepComs about the non-proliferation implications of an expanded NATO [] in the light of the outcome of the Washington Summit which has, for the time being, left the policy of nuclear sharing unchanged."

"This initiative by Egypt is very welcome. It would clarify an issue that has been controversial since the NPT was signed. Adopting this proposal would strengthen the NPT and the global effort towards nuclear disarmament," said Martin Butcher, on behalf of the PENN network.


Further details from Martin Butcher in New York on 202-487-4386.

PENN is a international network of non-governmental organizations concerned with nuclear weapons issues.