First-ever treaty banning nuclear weapons approved at United Nations
US, UK and France, which are among the many nations to boycott the meeting, said the treaty ‘disregards the realities of international security environment’.
Over 120 countries on Friday approved the first-ever treaty to ban nuclear weapons at a United Nations meeting. Out of the 123 nations, 122 voted in favour of the ban while the Netherlands opposed it and Singapore gave the process a miss. The meeting was boycotted by most of the nuclear-armed nations.
Hailing it as a “historic” vote, UN conference president Elayne Whyte Gomez (pictured above) said the world has been waiting for this since 1945 when atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “We [are] saying to our children that, yes, it is possible to inherit a world free from nuclear weapons.”
The 10-page treaty will be open for signatures from any UN member state on September 20 during the annual General Assembly, reported The Guardian. Under the new treaty, the signatory states will agree not to develop, test, manufacture or possess nuclear weapons, or threaten to use them, or allow any nuclear arms to be stationed on their territory.
India was among the nine countries that boycotted the meeting. The others are United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China, France, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. The US, UK and France said the treaty “disregards the realities of the international security environment”. In a joint statement issued by the three countries, they said, “The treaty offers no solution to the grave threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear programme, nor does it address other security challenges that make nuclear deterrence necessary.”
In December 2016, the UN General Assembly had adopted a resolution to “negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. While 113 members voted in favour, 35 opposed it and 13 abstained.