Over 120 nations adopt treaty banning nuclear weapons

2017-07-07 22:42
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New York - More than 120 countries on Friday approved the first-ever treaty to ban nuclear weapons at a UN meeting boycotted by all nuclear-armed nations.

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

"We have managed to sow the first seeds of a world free of nuclear weapons," Whyte Gomez said. "We (are) ... saying to our children that, yes, it is possible to inherit a world free from nuclear weapons.

"The world has been waiting for this legal norm for 70 years," since atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 at the end of World War II, she said.

Atomic weapons

None of the nine countries known or believed to possess nuclear weapons - the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel - is supporting the treaty. Many of their allies also did not attend the meeting.

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 US, 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.

All Nato members boycotted the negotiations except for the Netherlands, which has US nuclear weapons on its territory and was urged by its parliament to send a delegation. It was the only country to vote against the treaty.

Read more on:    un  |  nato  |  us  |  nuclear energy

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