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Nuclear Weapons “Ban Treaty” Negotiations to Begin!

As this past year was coming to a close, the United Nations General Assembly voted to convene negotiations in 2017 on a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading toward their total elimination,” also known as the Ban Treaty. With 113 votes for, 35 against, and 13 abstentions, the measure (Resolution L.41) passed overwhelmingly.

The negotiations will take place at UN Headquarters in New York from March 27 to March 31, and then resume from June 15 to July 7. Hundreds of governmental delegations, U.S. and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other representatives of civil society will participate. A one-day organizational session before the negotiations open is being planned by ICAN, the international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons.

These negotiations are commencing even as the U.S. and most other nuclear weapons states vociferously oppose them. The Ban Treaty is being pressed forward by the world’s non-nuclear weapons nations, alarmed by both the slow pace of disarmament and the huge “modernization” programs being undertaken by the U.S., Russia and, to varying degrees, the other nuclear-armed states.

In its inception, the Ban Treaty negotiations represent a growing empowerment and leadership renaissance by the majority of the world’s countries, which have chosen not to pursue nuclear arms. If completed, it would put nuclear weapons on the same legal footing as other weapons of mass destruction, which have long been outlawed.

Notable, too, is Resolution L.41’s reaffirmation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s disarmament obligations as a “complement” in pursuit of the global abolition of nuclear weapons and other provisions of the NPT.

Tri-Valley CAREs will participate at the UN during the opening week of negotiations in March 2017, to which we will bring our expertise and information about U.S. nuclear weapons programs. Despite new nuclear dangers, there will be new disarmament opportunities as well in the coming year. Your nuclear weapons watchdogs at Tri-Valley CAREs will address both. Watch this space as events unfold!