"Historic" treaty on banning nuclear weapons adopted at UN

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Elayne Whyte Gómez, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG) and President of the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons. Photo: UN Photo/ Manuel Elias

An "historic" treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons was adopted in the UN on Friday after months of negotiation.

The UN Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination, began in March, following a vote in the General Assembly last year.

"The treaty represents an important step and contribution towards the common aspirations of a world without nuclear weapons," the spokesperson for Secretary-General António Guterres said following its adoption.

Matt Wells has more details.

The draft treaty was formally adopted on Friday morning at UN Headquarters in New York with 122 Member States voting in favour; one abstention and one vote against.

The treaty covers the full range of nuclear-weapons related activities prohibiting any state from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing or stockpiling nuclear weapons of any kind.

It will be open for signature to all countries at UN Headquarters on 20 September this year, during the annual General Assembly, and enter into force 90 days after the 50th instrument of ratification or approval, has been deposited.

President of the Conference, Elayne Whyte Gómez, said the treaty strengthened and supported the existing international disarmament "architecture".

"It also has captured the aspirations of the overwhelming majority of those participating in the conference, including civil society. This is something I would like to stress because it has been the enthusiasm, the knowledge, and the collective experience of civil society that has kept the pressure throughout the decades so the international community moves towards the prohibition of nuclear weapons."

A group of around 40 countries – mostly the nine nuclear-armed states together with military allies – stayed out of the negotiations, including Security Council Permanent Members, the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China.

The UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, told UN News in a recent interview that "the door must be open to all states" to join and the treaty includes a clear path to do so, once nuclear stockpiles are eliminated.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'33"

 

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