The Business Times

Ridding the world of the nuclear scourge requires everyone's support

Published Mon, Mar 6, 2017 · 09:50 PM
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EVEN before work on a new legally binding treaty to "prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination" gets underway, the effort is being dismissed as a waste of time.

The proposal comes in the wake of a United Nations General Assembly resolution last December that called on all members to convene this year a UN conference to negotiate a legally binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons. The negotiating session for the treaty will meet initially on March 27 and is expected to resume in June this year. The meetings would be open to all states. And unusually, civil society organisations will have a seat at the table. More importantly, the outcome will reflect the majority view; veto-wielding members of the Security Council will not be able to block this treaty.

It will be a historic meeting. Never in the UN's 72-year history has there been such a sweeping proposal. To no one's surprise, the resistance to such a treaty was led by those with the largest nuclear arsenals - the US and Russia. In the run-up to the General Assembly vote, Washington leaned on its military allies to vote against the proposal. In the event, 123 members voted for, 38 against with 16 abstaining. All Asean members, including Singapore, backed the proposal.

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