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US puts pressure on Japan to skip forum on nuke ban

July 7, 2017




US pressures allies not to attend nuke ban treaty forum




NEW YORK (Kyodo) -- The United States has urged its allies to skip a forum to discuss the implications of a landmark nuclear weapons ban treaty that is expected to be adopted Friday, according to an email seen by Kyodo News.


Responding to an invitation from Kazakhstan to a launch event at its mission for the first session of the Nuclear Discussion Forum, the message from the U.S. mission said, "The United States will not participate in any event on the ban treaty, including this one."


"We call on our friends and allies to also not participate in this event. Our position on the ban treaty is clear and will not change," it said.


Participants in the forum are expected to talk about the outcome of U.N. negotiations on the treaty that end Friday, as well as the way forward.


In addition to the United States, the other nuclear weapon states -- Britain, China, France, and Russia -- have skipped the negotiations, claiming the treaty undermines the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which they have all signed.


Kazakhstan is known for its antinuclear stance, having given up more than 1,400 Soviet strategic nuclear warheads in the 1990s, and has called for the complete elimination of such weapons.


The event is being organized along with the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, which is headed by Japan's Izumi Nakamitsu.


Her deputy, Thomas Markram, is scheduled to make opening remarks, before presentations by ambassadors from South Africa, Brazil and Ireland. Negotiators from the three countries have been actively engaged in the U.N. proceedings that led to the final text and have been proponents of the process from the beginning.


The mission's new Ambassador Kairat Umarov will preside over the event which is open to all U.N. member states, irrespective of their views.


In March, when the first round of nuclear weapons ban talks got under way, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley staged a protest outside the U.N. General Assembly hall, along with other nuclear weapon states and North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies.


At the start of the second session that began on June 15, there was no such event. It remains to be seen how the nuclear weapon states will respond to the likely adoption of the ban treaty on Friday.



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