Nuclear powers refrain from signing United Nations treaty on banning nukes

Nepal to sign Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

As General Assembly proceedings continued in NY on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres convened more than fifty nations to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

"Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's refusal to sign on to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is threatening Canada's chances at securing a seat once again on the Security Council", said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands).

Its advocates hope that it will step up the pressure on nuclear States - the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel - to take disarmament more seriously.

Supporters of the pact say it's time to push harder toward eliminating atomic weapons than nations have done through the almost 50-year-old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

More than 120 countries approved the new nuclear weapons ban treaty in July over opposition from nuclear-armed countries and their allies, who boycotted negotiations. So far, the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968 has remained the primary legal framework for the nuclear activity of the global community, being the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear states.

U.S. President Donald Trump told the 193-member UN General Assembly on Tuesday that if threatened, the U.S. would "totally destroy" North Korea and its 26 million people. She said that with tensions growing between the USA and North Korea over the North's nuclear program, the need for the treaty is even greater. Guterres warned that the threat of a nuclear attack is at its highest level since the end of the Cold War and "fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings".

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But nuclear powers say a ban on the weapons won't work.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reiterated his country's position Monday, describing the treaty as "wishful thinking" that is "close to irresponsible".

Speaking on how to get the nearly 60 countries who boycotted the adoption of the treaty convinced to join the treaty, including the problems associated with the enforcement, Onyeama said it was a question of exposed strategy and trust.

"The ban treaty is at odds with the existing non-proliferation and disarmament architecture".

He urged countries that signed the treaty, Civil Society Organisations and intergovernmental organisations to convince others to accede to the treaty.

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