In what is set to be a “historic” moment at the United Nations, Member States will adopt on Friday a legally-binding treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.
“After our final review of the text yesterday, I am convinced that we have achieved a general consensus on a robust and comprehensive prohibition,” said Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica, who serves as the President of the conference to negotiate a legally-binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.
“This will be a historic moment and it is the first multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty to be concluded in more than 20 years,” she told a news conference at UN Headquarters.
According to the draft text, which has been negotiated 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.
The prohibitions also include any undertaking to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. The treaty will be open for signature to all States at UN Headquarters in New York on 20 September 2017, and enter into force 90 days after the 50th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession has been deposited.
To date, however, a number of countries have stayed out of the negotiations, including the United States, Russia and other nuclear-weapon States, as well as many of their allies. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has not joined the talks either.
In a recent interview, the newly appointed High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, told UN News that “nuclear-weapon States and some of their allies are not able to join the negotiations at the moment, but hopefully a treaty will be something they will be able to join eventually.”