More than 50 countries, with Brazil and South Africa among them, signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at a signature ceremony at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday.
Brazil’s President Michel Temer was the first to put his signature under the document. The high-level signature ceremony was attended by several heads of state and government along with dozens of foreign ministers, including Austrian, Irish and Cuban ones. Guyana, the Vatican and Thailand are expected to provide signed advance copies of the ratification instruments later in the day.
On September 20, the draft treaty banning nuclear weapons was open for signing. The document is due to come into force 90 days later after 50 countries have ratified it. Under the treaty, the parties will be obliged never and under no circumstances to develop, produce, or stockpile nuclear weapons as well as to use or threaten to use them. It compels non-nuclear signatory states not to deploy third nations’ nuclear weapons in their territories.
The treaty was approved on July 7 at the talks that major nuclear powers (Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, China and France) skipped. Two hours later after the document had been passed, the UK, US and France released a joint statement vowing they would never become party to the treaty. Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow would not ratify the nuclear weapons ban treaty as it runs counter to the country’s national interests.