Historic United Nations vote sets stage for a showdown
The United Nations took a step toward a future free of nuclear weapons today when the First Committee of the General Assembly voted, 123-38 (with 16 abstaining), to begin negotiations in 2017 on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.
The vote signals the frustration of non-nuclear states with the failure of nuclear armed states to fulfill the obligations they accepted when they signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1969. As a result, in March 2017 a UN conference will be convened to negotiate “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading toward their total elimination.”
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a civil society coalition active in 100 countries, hailed the adoption of the resolution as a major step forward, marking a fundamental shift in the way the world tackles the threat of nuclear weapons.
Fifty-seven nations co-sponsored the resolution. Five of the nine nuclear-armed states voted “No,” including the United States of America and Russia, who have the lion’s share of the world’s 15,000 nuclear weapons. North Korea voted for the resolution; China, Pakistan and India abstained.
A more detailed report, links to the resolution and the vote can be found on ICAN’s web site: http://www.icanw.org/campaign-news/un-votes-to-outlaw-nuclear-weapons-in-2017/UN