Dozens of countries sign historic nuke ban treaty at UN

UN Chief Opening Signing for 1st Nuclear Ban Treaty

Hyon File

The Treaty will enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified by at least 50 countries.

The world's first legally-binding treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons opened for signature on Wednesday at United Nations Headquarters in NY at a ceremony at which speakers from global organizations, governments and civil society hailed this milestone in achieving a world free of such arsenals as well as the work that remains to be done.

According to him, it will take great effort to really push and get a larger number of countries to accede to the treaty, especially nuclear weapons states.

Under its terms, non-nuclear nations agreed not to pursue nukes in exchange for a commitment by the five original nuclear powers - the US, Russia, Britain, France and China - to move toward nuclear disarmament and to guarantee other states' access to peaceful nuclear technology for producing energy.

Supporters of the pact say it's time to push harder toward eliminating atomic weapons than nations have done through the almost 50-year-old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Noting that nuclear-armed states possess an estimated 15,000 nuclear weapons, Guterres expressed hope that the treaty would re-invigorate disarmament efforts. Tijjani Bande, said it was sad that "there were countries that still have nuclear weapons and refused to give them up".

More than 120 countries approved the nuclear ban in early July over strong opposition from nuclear-armed countries and their allies, who boycotted the negotiations. So far, the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968 has remained the primary legal framework for the nuclear activity of the worldwide community, being the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear states.

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President Muhammadu Buhari, in his address to the United Nations, said the most pressing threat to worldwide peace and security was accelerated nuclear weapons development programme by North Korea. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump warned that the US would "totally destroy North Korea" if forced to defend itself or its allies. Guterres warned that the threat of a nuclear attack is at its highest level since the end of the Cold War and "fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings".

She said the tensions on the Korean Peninsula demonstrated the urgency of the need to ban nuclear weapons.

Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis said supporters of the treaty regretted the nuclear-armed nations' position.

Later Wednesday, Guterres was expected to brief the Security Council meeting on reforming United Nations peacekeeping - a key item on the Trump administration's agenda, which will be represented by Vice President Mike Pence.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, signed on behalf of the federal government, with additional signatories from 55 other countries.

In the General Assembly, leaders from several dozen countries will address the 193-member world body, including the presidents of Iran and Ukraine, the prime ministers of Japan and the United Kingdom, and the Palestinian leader.

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