More than 120 nations approve first UN treaty banning nuclear weapons

More than 120 nations approve first UN treaty banning nuclear weapons

To loud applause, Elayne Whyte Gomez, president of the U.N. conference that has been negotiating the legally binding treaty, announced the results of the "historic" vote - 122 nations in favor, the Netherlands opposed, and Singapore abstaining.

"We have managed to sow the first seeds of a world free of nuclear weapons", said Costa Rica´s ambassador, Elayne Whyte Gomez, the president of the United Nations conference that negotiated the treaty.

"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.

Whyte Gomez 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 at the end of the Second World War.

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Its 20 articles enumerates the party states' liabilities, procedures of the weapons stockpile declaration and their elimination controlled by the worldwide community and also sets out mechanisms for the treaty's implementation.

The treaty is based in humanitarian law and prohibits the development, testing, production, possession, or stockpiling of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, the transfer of such weapons, and also bans not only their use but the threat of their use.

In response to questions on the joint statement, Ms. Whyte Gómez recalled that when the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was adopted decades ago, it did not enjoy a large number of accessions.

In a recent interview, the newly appointed High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, told UN News that "nuclear-weapon States and some of their allies are not able to join the negotiations at the moment, but hopefully a treaty will be something they will be able to join eventually".

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That pact sought to prevent the spread of atomic arms beyond the five original weapons powers - the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China.

Impatience however is growing among many non-nuclear states over the slow pace of disarmament as are worries that weapons of mass destruction will fall into the wrong hands. "Is there anyone who thinks that North Korea would ban nuclear weapons?" In this respect, a treaty banning nuclear weapons risks affecting the security of the Euro-Atlantic region and global stability. Once 50 states have completed that process the treaty becomes global law. It will enter into force when 50 States have ratified the treaty, an effort that will be supported by the ICRC and Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world.

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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