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Nuclear arms ban set to be adopted at the UN

July 7, 2017

 

 

U.N. set to adopt treaty banning atomic weapons despite opposition from nuclear powers, Japan

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/07/07/world/u-n-set-adopt-treaty-banning-atomic-weapons-despite-opposition-nuclear-powers-japan/#.WV-BRVFpyos

 

AFP-JIJI

 

 

UNITED NATIONS – A global treaty banning nuclear weapons is set to be adopted at the United Nations on Friday despite opposition from the United States, Britain, France and other nuclear powers that boycotted negotiations.

Even Japan — the only country to have suffered atomic attacks, in 1945 — boycotted the talks, as did most NATO countries.

Supporters describe the treaty as a historic achievement, but the nuclear-armed states have dismissed the ban as unrealistic, arguing it will have no impact on reducing the global stockpile of 15,000 nuclear weapons.

Led by Austria, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and New Zealand, 141 countries have taken part in three weeks of negotiations on the treaty that provides for a total ban on developing, stockpiling or threatening to use nuclear weapons.

Advocates hope it will increase pressure on nuclear states to take disarmament more seriously.

“This will be a historic moment,” Costa Rica’s ambassador, Elayne Whyte Gomez, the president of the U.N. conference on the treaty, said on the eve of the adoption.

“The world has been waiting for this legal norm for 70 years,” she said, calling it a “response for humanity.”

None of the nine countries that possess nuclear weapons — the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel — took part in the negotiations.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley came out strongly against the ban when negotiations opened on March 27, saying, “There is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons, but we have to be realistic.”

“Is there anyone that believes that North Korea would agree to a ban on nuclear weapons?” she asked.

Nuclear powers argue their arsenals serve as a deterrent against a nuclear attack and say they remain committed to the decades-old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which seeks to prevent the spread of atomic weapons but also puts the onus on nuclear states to reduce their stockpiles.

However, impatience is growing among many nonnuclear states over the slow pace of disarmament, as are worries that the weapons of mass destruction will fall into the wrong hands.

Disarmament campaigners say the new treaty will go a long way in increasing the stigma associated with nuclear weapons and will have an impact on public opinion.

“The key thing is that it changes the legal landscape,” said Richard Moyes, director of the British-based organization Article 36. “It stops states with nuclear weapons from being able to hide behind the idea that they are not illegal.”

“This is really about removing the prestige from nuclear weapons,” said Beatrice Fihn, director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. “They are seen as something very valuable and as giving power. This is supposed to remove that.”

During a meeting at the General Assembly, the treaty is expected to be adopted by consensus by the conference of nations that has negotiated the document without the nuclear powers and their allies.

After its adoption, the treaty will be open for signatures as of Sept. 20 and will enter into force when 50 countries have ratified it.

During a vote at the U.N. General Assembly in December, 113 countries voted in favor of starting negotiations on the new treaty while 35 opposed the move and 13 abstained.

 

 

 

 

 

 July 7, 2017

 

 

First treaty banning nuclear weapons expected to be adopted

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170707/p2g/00m/0in/060000c

 

 

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- More than 120 countries are expected to adopt the first-ever treaty to ban nuclear weapons Friday despite a boycott by all nuclear-armed nations, including the United States, which has pointed to North Korea's escalating nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Elayne Whyte Gomez, president of the U.N. conference that has been negotiating the legally binding treaty, told reporters Thursday that "we are on the verge of adopting the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons."

"This will be a historic moment and it will be the first multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty to be concluded in more than 20 years," she said. "The world has been waiting for this legal norm for 70 years," since the use of the first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 at the end of World War II.

Whyte Gomez, Costa Rica's ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, said she hoped the treaty would be adopted by consensus, but she said the rules of procedure for the conference also allowed for a vote.

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.

Whyte Gomez said 129 countries signed up to take part in drafting the treaty, which represents two-thirds of the U.N.'s 193 member states. But all nuclear states and NATO members have boycotted the negotiations except for the Netherlands, which has U.S. nuclear weapons on its territory and was urged by its parliament to send a delegation to the negotiations.

Following Wednesday's final review of the text after nearly three weeks of intense negotiations, Whyte Gomez said she was "convinced that we have achieved a general agreement on a robust and comprehensive prohibition on nuclear weapons."

"I am really confident that the final draft has captured the aspirations of the overwhelming majority of those participating in the conference, including civil society," she said.

The final draft treaty requires all countries that ratify "never under any circumstances to develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices." It also bans any transfer or use of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices -- and the threat to use such weapons.

Retired British Royal Navy Cmdr. Rob Green, who flew nuclear strike aircraft and is now co-director of the Peace Foundation's Disarmament and Security Center, said at a news conference Wednesday that "the heart of this treaty" was the prohibition on threatening to use nuclear weapons.

Richard Moyes, managing director of Article 36, a British-based organization that works to prevent harm from nuclear and other weapons, said it isn't plausible to think the world can maintain security based on mutually threatening to incinerate hundreds of thousands of people with nuclear weapons "when we know there have been near-misses, errors of judgment -- there's been accidents -- and there's a degree of instability in the political leadership in the world."

But not one of the nine countries believed to possess nuclear weapons -- the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel -- is supporting the treaty.

The United States and other nuclear powers instead want to strengthen and reaffirm the nearly half-century-old Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, considered the cornerstone of global nonproliferation efforts.

That pact sought to prevent the spread of atomic arms beyond the five original weapons powers -- the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China. It requires non-nuclear signatory nations to not pursue atomic weapons in exchange for a commitment by the five powers to move toward nuclear disarmament and to guarantee non-nuclear states access to peaceful nuclear technology for producing energy.

North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile tests, including its July 3 launch, have become a timely argument for proponents and opponents of the treaty to ban atomic weapons.

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said 15,000 nuclear weapons around the world have not managed to deter Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions and a new approach is needed starting with prohibition as the first step to eliminate nuclear arms.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said March 27 when talks began on the nuclear weapons ban treaty that "there is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons, but we have to be realistic."

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.

 

 

Official: 120-plus nations set to approve nuclear ban treaty

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170707/p2g/00m/0in/046000c#cxrecs_s

July 7, 2017 (Mainichi Japan)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The president of the U.N. conference drafting what could be the first-ever treaty to ban nuclear weapons said over 120 countries have agreed on the text, which is expected to be formally adopted Friday although all nuclear-armed nations are boycotting the effort.

Elayne Whyte Gomez, Costa Rica's ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, said at a news conference Thursday that "this will be a historic moment and it will be the first multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty to be concluded in more than 20 years."

In December, U.N. member states overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling for negotiations on a treaty that would outlaw nuclear weapons over strong opposition from nuclear-armed countries and their allies, which have boycotted the negotiations.

Whyte Gomez said 129 countries signed up to take part in negotiating the treaty, which represents two-thirds of the U.N.'s 193 member states. But all nuclear states and NATO members have avoided the negotiations except for the Netherlands, which has U.S. nuclear weapons on its territory and was urged by its parliament to send a delegation to the talks.

Following Wednesday's final review of the text after nearly three weeks of negotiations, Whyte Gomez said she is "convinced that we have achieved a general agreement on a robust and comprehensive prohibition on nuclear weapons."

"We are on the verge of adopting the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons," she said. "I am really confident that the final draft has captured the aspirations of the overwhelming majority of those participating in the conference, including civil society."

Whyte Gomez said she hopes the treaty will be adopted by consensus, but she said the rules of procedure for the conference also allow for a vote.

The final draft treaty requires all countries that ratify "never under any circumstances to develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices." It also bans any transfer or use of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices -- and the threat to use such weapons.

Not one of the nine countries believed to possess nuclear weapons -- the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel -- is supporting a treaty.

Instead of adopting a total ban, the United States and other nuclear powers want to strengthen and reaffirm the nearly half-century-old Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, considered the cornerstone of global nonproliferation efforts.

That pact sought to prevent the spread of atomic arms beyond the five original weapons powers -- the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China. It requires non-nuclear signatory nations to not pursue nuclear weapons in exchange for a commitment by the five nuclear powers to move toward nuclear disarmament and to guarantee non-nuclear states access to peaceful nuclear technology for producing power.

North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile tests, including its July 3 launch, have become a timely argument for proponents and opponents of the treaty ban.

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said 15,000 nuclear weapons around the world have not managed to deter Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions and a new approach is needed starting with prohibition as the first step to eliminate nuclear weapons.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said March 27 when talks began on the nuclear weapons ban treaty that "there is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons, but we have to be realistic."

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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