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Major nuclear powers vote against UN push to ban nukes

This file photo shows a US Titan II nuclear missile ready to launch.

A United Nations General Assembly committee has approved a resolution to launch negotiations on a treaty that would outlaw the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons, despite objections from the world’s nuclear powers.

On Thursday, four of the five UN Security Council member states – Britain, France, Russia and the United States – joined 34 other countries and voted against the motion.

The fierce opposition from the world's nuclear powers came as they had lobbied for weeks to garner 'no' votes.

A total of 16 countries, including China, India, and Pakistan that have relatively small but growing nuclear arms programs, abstained from voting.

The resolution, presented by Austria, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa and Brazil, was finally adopted as 123 countries voted in its favor.

The non-binding resolution will now be put to a full General Assembly vote in late November or early December. It aims to convene a conference in March next year to discuss a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.”

The resolution also points to the grave concern over the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons.”

Beatrice Fihn, the executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, hailed the adoption of the resolution as a “historic moment” for the decades-old campaign against the use of nuclear weapons.

“This treaty won't eliminate nuclear weapons overnight. But it will establish a powerful, new international legal standard, stigmatizing nuclear weapons and compelling nations to take urgent action on disarmament,” she stated.

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