Published: Monday 15 April 1996

The conflict-ridden continent can still hope for peace. In a concerted effort to ban nuclear weapons in the continent, government leaders and ministers from all 53 African countries are set to sign a treaty to this effect in this month. The treaty, drafted with the support of United Nations, aims to promote a nuclear-free zone in the neighbouring Middle East. "We want the treaty to encourage people in the Middle East to go this way. Then, Africa can be truly sure of its security," said Jacob Selebi, South Africa's ambassador to the UN in Geneva. The countries will be bound by the African Nuclear'Weapon Free Zone Treaty, also known as the Pelindaba accord, to give up the development, acquisition, testing or deployment of nuclear weapons on their territories. It also bans the dumping of imported radioactive waste. Besides, the five declared nuclear- weapons states - the us, Russia, France, Britain and China - have been asked to sign two treaty protocols pledging not to attack treaty members with nuclear arms or to carry out nuclear tests in the region.

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