Austria, Ireland, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and Sweden are leading a UN conference to ban nuclear weapons globally. Very politically correct and a marvellous opportunity to be self-righteous and sanctimonious. 123 countries and lots of NGO’s are going to participate in New York. Also an opportunity for a little holiday in New York.
The only problem is that about 40 countries are not participating. Every country which has nuclear weapons is boycotting the conference. It is just another talking shop and an opportunity for the irrelevant to posture. Maybe some of these countries attending are there in good faith but I have serious doubts as to their common sense.
More than 100 countries on Monday launched the first UN talks aimed at achieving a legally binding ban on nuclear weapons, as Washington led an international boycott of a process it deems unrealistic. Before the conference had even begun, the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, spoke out to reject the proposal in the light of current global security threats. “As a mom and a daughter there is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons,” Haley, who represents the world’s largest nuclear power, said on the sidelines of the meeting. “But we have to be realistic,” she added. “Is there anyone that believes that North Korea would agree to a ban on nuclear weapons?”
Haley spoke in a group of some 20 ambassadors from US allies which are boycotting the negotiations, including Britain, France, South Korea, Turkey and a number of countries from eastern Europe. The ambassadors of Russia and China were notably absent, but both major nuclear powers are also sitting out the General Assembly talks.
Haley estimated that “almost 40 countries” were not participating.
The push for a ban was announced in October by 123 UN members who say the threat of atomic disaster is growing thanks to tensions fanned by North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and an unpredictable new administration in Washington. Leaders of the effort include Austria, Ireland, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and Sweden, supported by hundreds of nonprofit organizations. But Britain, France, Israel, Russia and the United States all voted no, while China, India and Pakistan abstained — together accounting for most of the world’s declared and undeclared nuclear powers.
Even Japan — the only country to have suffered atomic attacks, in 1945 — voted against the talks, saying a lack of consensus over the negotiations could undermine progress on effective nuclear disarmament. Japan’s ambassador, Nobushige Takamizawa, addressed the General Assembly to explain why. “Efforts to make such a treaty without the involvement of nuclear weapon states will only deepen the schism and division” in the international community, he said.
India is not participating in the first UN conference in more than 20 years on a global nuclear weapons ban which opened here amid objections from major nuclear powers. More than 120 nations in October last year voted on a UN General Assembly resolution to convene the conference to negotiate a legally binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. Britain, France, Israel, Russia and the US voted no, while China, India and Pakistan abstained from voting on that resolution.
The first substantive session of the conference began yesterday. In its Explanation of Vote (EoV) given for its abstention on the resolution in October, India had said that it was “not convinced” that the proposed conference could address the longstanding expectation of the international community for a comprehensive instrument on nuclear disarmament. India also maintained that the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament (CD) is the single multilateral disarmament negotiation forum.
It had further said that it supports the commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a Comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention, which in addition to prohibition and elimination also includes verification. It had said that international verification was essential to the global elimination of nuclear weapons, India feels that the current process does not include the verification aspect. In line with its position that India articulated in the EoV, India has decided not to participate in the current conference that will run through March 31.
It will, however, continue to follow the developments in the event.
The US, France and the UK led a group of over 40 nations that are strongly protesting the UN talks.
Tags: nuclear weapons