UN Committee Votes for Nuclear Treaty Ban

UN Committee Votes for Nuclear Treaty BanUN Committee Votes for Nuclear Treaty Ban

A UN General Assembly committee voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to support a resolution that would ultimately outlaw nuclear weapons, but many nuclear-armed nations opposed the measure.

The disarmament and international security committee saw 123 countries vote in favor of the measure, while 38 opposed it and 16 abstained, AP reported.

Four of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom and France—opposed the resolution, while China abstained.

Despite the opposition, the measure sponsored by Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria and South Africa will now head to the full General Assembly, where a vote is expected in December.

The resolution calls for convening a conference in March 2017 to negotiate a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading toward their total elimination”.

“Anti-nuclear groups hailed the landmark vote in the struggle to eliminate nuclear weapons,” said Beatriz Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Fihn acknowledged that the vote is unlikely to persuade nuclear powers to surrender their atomic weapons, but she said it would help stigmatize the weapons in much the same way as has been done with landmines and cluster bombs.

Japan, which has long campaigned against the use of nuclear weapons, nonetheless voted against the resolution, as did South Korea that faces a potentially existential threat from North Korea.

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