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Courtesy Reuters

NUCLEAR POLICY: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

South Africa represents the world's first instance of nuclear rollback, a state which has unilaterally and voluntarily relinquished nuclear weapons. President F. W. de Klerk declared to a special joint session of the South African parliament on March 24, 1993, that "at one stage South Africa did develop a limited nuclear deterrent capability," but "early in 1990 final effect was given to decisions that all the nuclear devices should be dismantled and destroyed." De Klerk's speech was the first official confirmation of what had long been suspected: Pretoria had actually developed nuclear weapons. Yet its larger significance derives from the country's unprecedented dismantling of a fully mature nuclear arsenal.

Despite de Klerk's exhortations about opening a new chapter of "international cooperation and trust," South Africa's nuclear past casts a long shadow. For some, de Klerk's announcement resurrected old questions about the country's nuclear behavior, reinforced current suspicions

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