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America leads boycott of historic UN conference on nuclear weapons ban

U.N. Considers a Historic Ban on Nuclear Weapons, But U.S. Leads Boycott of the Talks, Democracy Now, MARCH 30, 2017 Some 120 countries gathered at the United Nations this week to draft a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. But the United States is leading a boycott of the talks. Meanwhile, more than 2,000 scientists signed an open letter endorsing the U.N. talks, and, on Tuesday, Pope Francis encouraged the United Nations to pursue the “total elimination” of nuclear weapons. We speak to Zia Mian, physicist, nuclear expert and disarmament activist. He is co-director of the Program on Science and Global Security at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.


TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: We turn now to a historic debate at the United Nations. Some 120 countries gather this week to draft a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. But the United States did not take part. In fact, the U.S. led a boycott of the talks. This is U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley…….

AMY GOODMAN: U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley was joined by envoys from Britain, France, South Korea and other nations in opposing the U.N. talks on a nuclear weapons ban treaty. Russia and China have also declined to participate in the conference.

We’re joined now by Zia Mian, physicist, nuclear expert and disarmament activist, co-director of the Program on Science and Global Security at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He’s co-author of Unmaking the Bomb: A Fissile Material Approach to Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation.

What’s happening here? Why is the U.S. leading this boycott?

ZIA MIAN: The news is not that the U.S. is leading a boycott. We knew the United States wasn’t going to participate and that it’s been trying to force its nuclear NATO allies also to not participate. The news here is that, after 70 years, the vast majority of countries in the world have decided they’ve had enough of waiting for the United States and the other countries with nuclear weapons to keep their promise that they would get rid of nuclear weapons, and said, “Enough is enough. We are now going to create an international treaty that will ban nuclear weapons, and you are going to be nuclear outlaws. And you’re going to have to deal with this new reality.”

NERMEEN SHAIKH: So how did these nations come together now?

ZIA MIAN: It’s taken years and years of effort by non-weapons states and peace movements around the world to build the kind of coalition that it’s taken to bring a resolution to the United Nations last year, in which 123 countries, as you mentioned, voted in support of the beginning of talks. The United States tried actively to block that resolution being passed. It actually sent a classified memo to all of the NATO allies the U.S. protects with its nuclear weapons, saying, “Don’t support this resolution at the United Nations. And if the resolution passes, don’t go, or else.” It was actively threatening its own allies to make sure they wouldn’t participate, because they know that in many of the countries in Europe, in particular, and in countries like Japan, which are protected by U.S. nuclear weapons, public opinion and many parliaments are actually in favor of joining the process to ban nuclear weapons. And it’s taken a lot of effort by the United States to keep these countries out of the process…….https://www.democracynow.org/2017/3/30/un_considers_a_historic_ban_on

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March 31, 2017 - Posted by | USA, weapons and war

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