In the flurry of measures proposed in the 1960's to control atomic weapons, nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZ) featured prominently as an achievable means towards the elimination of nuclear weapons. Among the first regions to decide on a continental nuclear-weapon-free zone was Africa, which in 1964 adopted the Declaration on the Denuclearization of Africa. With the suspicion that a major country in the region, South Africa, was developing a nuclear weapon capability to defend its universally condemned policy of apartheid, Africa was hindered from pursuing the implementation of its Declaration. This situation persisted until 1991 when, taking advantage of the new developments in international relations, African states commenced the process of implementing the 1964 Declaration through a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly.

On 24 March 1993, the incumbent South African President, Frederick De Klerk, announced that South Africa had indeed built some nuclear weapons, but had subsequently destroyed them. He added that South Africa was ready to support and cooperate with other African states to negotiate a legal instrument on the denuclearization of the continent and promised his country's cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. This statement provided further incentive for the pursuit of the African NWFZ and facilitated the invitation of South Africa to participate in the negotiations of a legally binding instrument, which commenced in Harare in April 1993.

Authored by Ambassador Oluyemi Adeniji, The Treaty of Pelindaba: On the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone provides a detailed account of the negotiating history of the Treaty of Pelindaba. Ambassador Adeniji, who was Chairman of the Group of Experts that negotiated the Treaty and who enjoys vast experience in the diplomacy of arms control and disarmament, is particularly well placed to recount the proceedings of the series of discussions that led to the conclusion of the Treaty. The book, which is perhaps the most comprehensive analysis of a nuclear-weapon-free zone treaty, should prove very useful to both students of arms control and disarmament as well as to future negotiators of additional NWFZ.

Citation: Oluyemi Adeniji (2003). The Treaty of Pelindaba on the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone", UNIDIR, Geneva.