9 nuclear nations including US, India, Pakistan skip talks
UNITED NATIONS: Over 120 countries in the United Nations voted to adopt the first-ever global treaty to ban nuclear weapons, even as nine nuclear- armed nations, including the US, China, India and Pakistan did not participate in the negotiations for the legally binding instrument to prohibit atomic weapons.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the first multilateral legally-binding instrument for nuclear disarmament to have been negotiated in 20 years, was adopted on Friday amid cheers and applause by a vote of 122 in favour to one against (Netherlands) and one abstention (Singapore).
The nuclear-armed nations — the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, Pakistan, India, North Korea and Israel had not participated in the negotiations.
A substantive session was held in March this year to negotiate the legally binding instrument aimed at prohibiting nuclear weapons.
In October last year, more than 120 nations had voted on a UN General Assembly resolution to convene a conference to negotiate the legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres welcomed the adoption of the treaty, saying it “represents an important step and contribution towards the common aspirations of a world without nuclear weapons.”
Guterres hoped that the new treaty will promote inclusive dialogue and renewed international cooperation aimed at achieving the long overdue objective of nuclear disarmament.
The treaty 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.
“We feel emotional because we are responding to the hopes and dreams of the present and future generations,” said Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez of Costa Rica, who serves as the President of the conference that negotiated the treaty in response to a mandate given by the UN General Assembly.
She told a news conference at UN Headquarters that with the treaty the world is “one step closer” to a total elimination of nuclear weapons.
Opened for signature in 1968, the (Nuclear) Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entered into force in 1970. Then in 1995, the Treaty was extended indefinitely.
A total of 191 states have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States that are the permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.