United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York. via REUTERS
Dozens of countries signed a treaty to ban nuclear weapons on Wednesday, although the United States, Britain, France and others boycotted the event at the annual United Nations gathering of world leaders.
“Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies, and gentlemen, I now declare the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons open for signature,” said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons will enter into force 90 days after 50 countries have ratified it. Only a few states were due to deposit their ratification on Wednesday.
“There remain some 15,000 nuclear weapons in existence. We cannot allow these doomsday weapons to endanger our world and our children’s future,” said Guterres.
“Today we rightfully celebrate a milestone. Now we must continue along the hard road towards the elimination of nuclear arsenals.”
The United States, Britain, and France are among nine countries believed to have nuclear weapons.
“We regret the fact that those who still who use nuclear weapons as part of their security deterrence status have decided as of yet not to join this global initiative. Their inaction is not an option. Maintaining the status quo is a very dangerous situation for international security. And it leaves the humanity and our planet under the looming shadow of insecurity. Security does not come from weapons,” said Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solis.
The treaty was adopted in July by two-thirds of the 193 U.N. member states after months of talks, which United States, Britain, France skipped.
They instead pledged commitment to a decades-old non-proliferation treaty, which aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology. — Reuters