U.S. seeks progress on NPT action plan

The U.S. encouraged a balanced dialogue to make improvements to the 2010 Action Plan of the Non-Proliferation Treaty during the second session of the NPT's preparatory committee on Monday.

Thomas Countryman, the assistant secretary of the U.S. Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, issued a statement on Monday during the meeting in Geneva. Countryman said the 2010 Action plan helped the NPT to achieve its three major objectives in building a safer world.

"(A world) in which the barriers to nuclear proliferation remain high; violators are held accountable; and progress to reduce nuclear weapons, contain risks of nuclear terrorism, and expand peaceful uses of nuclear energy is not only possible but underway," Countryman said. "This is the direction we seek. It is one that we believe all NPT parties should support and which will keep us on course toward our ultimate goal of achieving the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons."

Countryman said the U.S. agreed that the action plan has its flaws, but the NPT membership should still take pride in adopting forward-looking principles and commitments that support the underlying purposes of the treaty. The U.S. supports progress on the treaty and its three pillars.

"Progress on the action plan should naturally be the subject of review by NPT parties," Countryman said. "We encourage such a review, and a dialogue that is balanced, addressing all action items and each of the treaty's three pillars; substantive; candid; and pursued with the aim of preserving collective support for the treaty as an instrument of security."

Countryman closed by commenting on attempts to hold a weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the Middle East.

"I emphasize that the United States supports the goal of establishing a WMD-free zone in the Middle East and the convening of a conference involving all states in the region to discuss it," Countryman said. "Although it proved not possible to meet in Helsinki last year, my government remains firmly committed to working with the Facilitator, the other conveners, and with all states in the region to take steps that will create conditions for a successful and meaningful conference. On that basis, we hope the relevant parties can agree to hold it soon."