Fifty countries have signed a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, a pact that the world’s nuclear powers spurned but supporters hailed as a historic agreement nonetheless. 50 states as different as Indonesia and Ireland had put their names to the treaty. They would be barred from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, otherwise acquiring, possessing or stockpiling nuclear weapons under any circumstances.
Under its terms, non-nuclear nations agreed not to pursue nukes in exchange for a commitment by the five original nuclear powers the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China to move toward nuclear disarmament and to guarantee other states’ access to peaceful nuclear technology for producing energy.
Amid rising tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said that the threat of a nuclear attack is at its highest level since the end of the Cold War. This treaty is an important step towards the universally held goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.
More than 120 countries approved the new nuclear weapons ban treaty in July over opposition from nuclear armed countries and their allies, who boycotted negotiations.
Brazil was the first country to sign onto the ban, followed by nations from Algeria to Venezuela.