PHNOM PENH, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Four out of the five recognized nuclear-weapon states (P5) will not be ready to sign on the protocol to the treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) during the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' meeting next week, a Cambodian senior official said Sunday.
The four countries are France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, Kao Kim Hourn, secretary of state at Cambodia's foreign ministry, said in a press briefing after the meeting of the SEANWFZ Commission, which was attended by ASEAN foreign ministers and chaired by Cambodian foreign minister Hor Namhong.
"They (the four countries) have introduced the text of reservation and position reservation to the SEANWFZ commission very late; therefore, the commission has not had more time to review them, and the commission decided that the signing will be postponed so that we will have more time to review the text of reservation and position of reservation," said Kao Kim Hourn. "We do hope that the signing by the four countries can take part during the 21st ASEAN Summit in November this year."
The postponement was made just a week after Cambodia's foreign ministry announced on June 29 that the P5 would sign the protocol during ASEAN Foreign Minsiters' meeting here on July 12.
China, one of the P5, will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with ASEAN on the protocol and treaty to the SEANWFZ on July 10 as scheduled, according to a press release on Sunday.
The MoU will clarify the understanding among the States Parties and China on the application of the treaty and the protocol, it said.
ASEAN leaders signed the SEANWFZ Treaty in Bangkok, Thailand on December 15, 1995 and it took effect two years later. The negotiations between the ASEAN and the P5 on the protocol have been ongoing since May 2001.
The ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.