News Release

Trump and Macron Meet, Clinging to Nuclear Weapons

news release 26

ALICE SLATER, alicejslater at gmail.com
Slater is the New York Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and serves on the Coordinating Committee of World Beyond War. She just wrote the piece “Democracy Breaks Out at the UN as 122 Nations Vote to Ban the Bomb” for The Nation.

She writes: “On July 7, 2017, at a UN Conference mandated by the UN General Assembly to negotiate a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, the only weapons of mass destruction yet to be banned, 122 nations completed the job after three weeks, accompanied by a celebratory outburst of cheers, tears, and applause among hundreds of activists, government delegates, and experts, as well as survivors of the lethal nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and witnesses to the devastating, toxic nuclear-test explosions in the Pacific. …

“Upon the adoption of the ban treaty, the United States, United Kingdom and France issued a statement that ‘We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it’ as it ‘does not address the security concerns that continue to make nuclear deterrence necessary’ and will create ‘even more divisions at a time … of growing threats, including those from the DPRK’s ongoing proliferation efforts.’ Ironically, North Korea was the only nuclear power to vote for the ban treaty, last October, when the UN’s First Committee for Disarmament forwarded a resolution for ban-treaty negotiations to the General Assembly. …

“The Ban Treaty affirms the states’ determination to realize the purpose of the Charter of the United Nations and reminds us that the very first resolution of the UN in 1946 called for the elimination of nuclear weapons. With no state holding veto power, and no hidebound rules of consensus that have stalled all progress on nuclear abolition and additional initiatives for world peace in other UN and treaty bodies, this negotiation was a gift from the UN General Assembly, which democratically requires states to be represented in negotiations with an equal vote and doesn’t require consensus to come to a decision.

“Despite the recalcitrance of the nuclear-deterrence-mongers, we know that previous treaties banning weapons have changed international norms and stigmatized the weapons leading to policy revisions even in states that never signed those treaties. The Ban Treaty requires 50 states to sign and ratify it before it enters into force, and will be open for signature September 20 when heads of state meet in New York for the UN General Assembly’s opening session.”