129 countries set to approve nuclear ban treaty

129 countries set to approve nuclear ban treaty

After protracted worldwide talks, an estimated 129 nations are prepared to sign a global ban on nuclear weapons, the first ever such treaty and the first multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty in more than 20 years.

The treaty - adopted by a vote of 122 in favour to one against (Netherlands), with one abstention (Singapore) - prohibits a full range of nuclear-weapon-related activities, such as undertaking to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, as well as the use or threat of use of these weapons.

"After our final review of the text yesterday, I am convinced that we have achieved a general consensus on a robust and comprehensive prohibition", said Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica, who serves as the President of the conference to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.

"The world has been waiting for this legal norm for 70 years", since atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 at the end of World War II, she said.

In December, U.N. member states overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling for negotiations on a treaty that would outlaw nuclear weapons, despite strong opposition from nuclear-armed nations and their allies who refused to participate in the talks. A total of 191 States have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States that are the permanent members of the UN Security Council - China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The basic premise, the treaty's opening passage states, is a recognition of "the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from any use of nuclear weapons", and an agreement that their complete elimination "remains the only way to guarantee that nuclear weapons are never used again under any circumstances".

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The treaty is meant to bar countries from developing, testing, manufacturing, acquiring or even possessing any kind of nuclear weapon.

It is a text unsuited to the global security context, characterized by growing tensions and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as shown, inter alia, by the North Korea nuclear threat.

"It stops states with nuclear weapons from being able to hide behind the idea that they are not illegal".

The treaty, no doubt, will compliment and strengthen the global architecture on nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation regime.

Iran, which signed an agreement with six major powers in 2015 to rein in its nuclear program, was among the countries that voted for the treaty. In this respect, a treaty banning nuclear weapons risks affecting the security of the Euro-Atlantic region and worldwide stability.

She asked if anyone thought North Korea would give up its nuclear weapons, stressing that North Koreans would be "cheering" a nuclear ban treaty - and Americans and others would be at risk.

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