Timor, Indonesia vote for NZ-backed 'gift for future' nuclear-free ban

European and US bishops call for elimination of nuclear weapons globally

A treaty that bans nuclear weapons was adopted by 122 countries at the United Nations on Friday, but countries with nuclear arsenals are boycotting the pact.

The editorial on June 28, "Critical safety in nuclear weapons", misses the essential crisis of nuclear weapons.

The nuclear weapons ban preamble decries the "slow pace of nuclear disarmament" and "continued reliance on nuclear weapons in military and security concepts, doctrines and policies".

Countries will be able to sign the treaty at the U.N. Headquarters in NY in September.

None of the nine countries possessing nuclear weapons -United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel- has not taken part in the negotiations.

Under the terms of the treaty each party (state) would never, under any circumstances, develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other explosive devices.

"Today the global community rejected nuclear weapons and made it clear they are unacceptable", said Beatrice Fihn, the executive director of the worldwide Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons [ICAN], a Geneva-based coalition of more than 450 nongovernmental groups. While there is not one fewer nuclear weapon on the planet, this treaty focuses the world's attention on the nuclear powers and the worldwide institutions that make the existence of these weapons possible.

To prevent future harm, the new instrument categorically prohibits the use, production, stockpiling, transfer, and other activities involving nuclear weapons.

Iran was among the numerous countries that backed the treaty.

The envoys of the three nations also criticised the UN treaty for disregarding the realities by not considering the "grave threat posed by North Korea's nuclear programme".

The treaty, no doubt, will compliment and strengthen the global architecture on nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation regime.

"It's a prohibition in line with other prohibitions on weapons of mass destruction", said Beatrice Fihn at the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons in Geneva.

It will be open to ratification as from 20 September, and will enter into force after its signing by 50 countries.

The last such success was the 1996 adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which prohibits the testing of nuclear devices - though it, too, has yet to go into effect. "The treaty represents an important step and contribution towards the common aspiration of a world without nuclear weapons", Guterres said. She said, "The treaty will reinforce the stigma against the use of nuclear weapons".

She said that influence will likely come in the form of additional political pressure that encourages nuclear states to take more aggressive steps to reduce and eventually eliminate their arsenals.

Nuclear-armed states have a "clear pathway" to join the treaty as well, and destroy their nuclear weapons in a time-bound, verifiable and irreversible manner.

Except for one thing: None of the countries that actually have nuclear weapons adopted the treaty, so it doesn't technically apply to them.

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