United Nations head opens signing for 1st nuclear ban treaty

Laura Christensen
September 21, 2017

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted on July 7 and established a comprehensive set of prohibitions on participating in any nuclear weapon activities.

The Iranian president said his country would not be the first to breach the nuclear agreement, "but it will respond decisively to its violation by any party".

The treaty, which would ban the developing, stocking and threat of use of nuclear weapons, will apply only to signatory States.

Passed on July 7, 2017, with 122 countries in favor, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, as the ban is officially known, is the first legally binding global treaty to totally ban nuclear weapons. Guyana, the Vatican and Thailand also have already ratified the treaty.

The Treaty - adopted on 7 July this year at a United Nations conference in NY 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.

The US and other nuclear armed nations, instead, support the far weaker Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which was ratified in 1970.

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More than 120 countries approved the treaty in July over opposition from nuclear-armed countries and their allies. The U.N. Security Council agreed to fresh sanctions against Pyongyang after its sixth nuclear test earlier this month.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has called the treaty "wishful thinking" that is "close to irresponsible".

At the start of nuclear ban negotiations in New York, America's U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley led a public protest against the talks, suggesting that a ban is unrealistic as North Korea would never give up its nuclear weapons.

"We call upon them to join this date with history", said Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis-the leader of a country without a standing army.

Members are expected to vote on a resolution that would recognize "the primacy of politics" including mediation, monitoring cease-fires and assisting the implementation of peace accords in the U.N.'s approach to resolving conflicts.

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