Countries meeting at a United Nations conference in NY today adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the first multilateral legally-binding instrument for nuclear disarmament to have been negotiated in 20 years.
The ban, formally known as theTreaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, was officially adopted after months of negotiations by the U.N. General Assembly, with the Friday vote: 122 countries voted yes; one - the Netherlands - voted no; and one - Singapore - abstained.
France, for its part, remains determined to implement the next concrete stages in nuclear disarmament, in accordance with its commitments under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. "The world has been waiting for this legal norm for 70 years", since the use of the first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 at the end of World War II.
According to the draft text, which has been agreed on by 129 UN Member States, the treaty covers the full range of nuclear-weapons-related activities, prohibiting undertaking by any State party to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
They said it "clearly disregards the realities of the worldwide security environment" and "is incompatible with the policy of nuclear deterrence, which has been essential to keeping the peace in Europe and North Asia for over 70 years".
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.
The treaty, no doubt, will compliment and strengthen the global architecture on nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation regime.
It is a text unsuited to the global security context, characterized by growing tensions and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as shown, inter alia, by the North Korea nuclear threat. "The indiscriminate and disproportionate nature of nuclear weapons, compel the world to move beyond nuclear deterrence", the declaration reads.
Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland voted in favor as did Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Kazakhstan and many African and Latin American countries.
North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile tests, including its July 3 launch, have become a timely argument for proponents and opponents of the treaty to ban atomic weapons. Five nuclear-armed states, which are the UN Security Council's permanent members (Russia, the United States, China, France and the UK) did not take part in the conference.
Beatrice Finn, director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has stated that "Nuclear weapons are morally unacceptable".