Seabed Treaty

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Seabed Treaty

 

(treaty prohibiting the placement of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction on the seabed), an international treaty worked out in the Committee on Disarmament in 1969 and 1970 on the initiative of the USSR. The treaty was approved on Dec. 7, 1970, by the 25th session of the UN General Assembly and opened for signature on Feb. 11, 1971, simultaneously in Moscow, Washington, and London. The treaty came into force on Jan. 18, 1972. By Jan. 1, 1974, 51 countries had become parties to the treaty.

The treaty, consisting of a preamble and 11 articles, prohibits the setting up and deployment on the seabed beyond a 12-mile coastal zone of any nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, as well as of installations and launching and other devices specially designed for the storage, testing, or use of such weapons. The treaty obligates all parties to refrain from aiding, encouraging, and inciting any state to carry out these actions. The treaty sets up a system of inspection under which each party has the right to conduct inspections by observing the activity of the other parties in the zone affected by the treaty on condition that such observation not disturb this activity. Article 5 of the treaty obligates the parties to continue negotiations on further steps toward averting other types of arms races on the floors of seas and oceans. The concluding articles (8-11) define the procedure of the treaty’s action, including the right of any state to withdraw from the treaty on condition that it notify the remaining parties and the UN Security Council three months in advance.

PUBLICATION

Novoe vremia, 1971, Feb. 19, no. 8.

D. ASANOV [8-1144-1; updated]