United Nations adopts treaty banning nuclear weapons despite USA opposition

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Whyte Gomez said "the world has been waiting for this legal norm for 70 years", since the use of the first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the Second World War.

Indeed, said Dr. Matthew McKinzie, Natural Resources Defense Council Senior Scientist and director of NRDC's nuclear program, at a United Nations media briefing last month, "Both the US and Russian Federation are modernizing their nuclear arsenals". Many of their allies also did not attend the meeting.

In a joint press statement issued today, the delegations of the United States, United Kingdom and France said they "have not taken part in the negotiation of the treaty... and do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it..."

That's because every single nuclear weapons-having nation on the planet has boycotted the effort, along with the entire NATO alliance except for the Netherlands, though it's not clear if even they are among the nations planning to sign the final treaty.

That pact sought to prevent the spread of atomic arms beyond the five original weapons powers - the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China.

Ms. Fihn said the standoff between North Korea and the United States over the North's nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles illustrated what she called the fallacy that the deterrence theory can keep the peace.

Even Japan - the only country to have suffered atomic attacks, in 1945 - boycotted the talks as did most North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries.

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"There is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons, but we have to be realistic", U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

The United States and the other nuclear-armed powers have boycotted this conference, despite the fact that nearly all of them signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, under which the nuclear powers agreed to pursue nuclear disarmament, in return for the non-nuclear states agreement not to acquire them.

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. "Is there anyone who thinks that North Korea would ban nuclear weapons?"

"We will use (the ban) to stop further nukes being made, used or deployed", she said.

As a result, the two countries who maintain about 90 percent of the world's warheads have stopped talking about nuclear reduction, and the rest of the world-which was promised disarmament-has noticed, leading to protest moves like this new treaty ban.

The International Committee of the Red Cross hailed it as a "historic step towards delegitimizing" nuclear weapons and declared the adoption "an important victory for our shared humanity". The agreement comes at a time when the world has again been reminded of the threat of nuclear weapons.

She asked if anyone thought North Korea would give up its nuclear weapons, stressing that North Koreans would be "cheering" a nuclear ban treaty - and Americans and others would be at risk.