UN talks on global nuclear weapons ban (28th / March/2017)
More than 100 countries are set to launch the first UN talks on a global nuclear weapons ban over objections from the major nuclear powers.
Some 123 UN members announced in October that they would launch the UN conference to negotiate a legally binding nuclear ban treaty, even as most of the world’s declared and undeclared nuclear powers voted against the talks. Britain, France, Israel, Russia and the United States voted no, while China, India and Pakistan abstained.
- Even Japan — the only country to have suffered atomic attacks, in 1945 — voted against the talks, saying the lack of consensus over the negotiations could undermine progress on effective nuclear disarmament.
- The countries leading the effort include Austria, Ireland, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and Sweden. They say the threat of nuclear disaster is growing thanks to mounting tensions fanned by North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and an unpredictable new administration in Washington.
- Supporters point to successful grassroots movements that led to the prohibition of landmines in 1997 and cluster munitions in 2008.
- No progress has been made on nuclear disarmament in recent years despite commitments made by the major nuclear powers to work toward disarmament under the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
- Then-president Barack Obama announced a drive in 2009 to reduce the role of nuclear weapons and eventually eliminate them.
- His administration strongly encouraged NATO allies to vote against this year’s UN negotiations, saying a ban would obstruct cooperation to respond to nuclear threats from adversaries.