Argentina and Brazil signed a bilateral nuclear agreement that set as a goal eventual adherence to the Western Hemisphere nuclear non-proliferation pact.

The United States has long urged Brazil and Argentina, South America's largest countries and the only ones with enough nuclear technology to build an atomic weapon, to ratify the treaty, known as the Treaty of Tlatelolco.In careful, diplomatic language, President Fernando Collor de Mello of Brazil and President Carlos Menem of Argentina signed documents Wednesday pledging that as a first step the two nations would enter into negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency to provide bilateral safeguards, or inspections, that would prevent either from building a nuclear weapon.

Afterward, according to the documents, the two nations would "begin steps to facilitate the full application for the ban of nuclear arms in Latin America."

The Treaty of Tlatelolco was specifically mentioned in the documents as a goal, and in a speech President Menem said "it is not possibe for any country in our region to approach this subject without being obligated to refer to the treaty that bans nuclear arms in Latin America and the Caribbean, our Tlatelolco treaty."