Yesterday, the African Nuclear Weapons Free Treaty (a.k.a. Treaty of Pelindaba) went into full effect. Burundi was the necessary twenty-eighth signatory to the Treaty which was opened for signatures and ratification thirteen years ago. According to Amelia Broodryk and Noel Scott at the Institute for Security Studies (the full article can be accessed here):
The Entry-into-Force of the Treaty of Pelindaba is both long overdue and timely – sending a clear message ahead of the May 2010 Review Conference for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that Africa is totally committed to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation both globally and on the African continent.
This follows some exciting news earlier in the year about the formation of another nuclear weapons free zone that includes the five Central Asian nations (and former Soviet states) of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. For a fact sheet on the world’s other nuclear weapons free zone and what these treaties entail, check out this wonderful factsheet from Arms Control Association.
Africa’s commitment to disarmament is especially poignant because of the story of South Africa: the only nation to develop nuclear capabilities and then voluntarily disarm.