UK statement to UN General Assembly

The United Kingdom has reiterated its position in favour of a world without nuclear weapons at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, despite saying there are no plans to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The UK remains committed to a world without nuclear weapons, with undiminished security for all, and to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The 2020 Review Conference, on the 50th anniversary of the Treaty’s entry into force, provides an opportunity to celebrate its successes and come together to strengthen its future.

The statement was given by Aidan Liddle, Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in New York at the end of last week. Since the Treaty was agreed by the UN in 2017 the UK, along with the other nuclear-armed and nuclear umbrella states, has argued that it undermines the work of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This position was stated again at the General Assembly.

                                     Aidan Liddle

The UK does not, however, intend to support, sign or ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Ban Treaty risks undermining the NPT, ignores the security environment and does not address the technical and procedural challenges that must be overcome to achieve nuclear disarmament in a secure and responsible manner.

The NPT has been deadlocked for many years, with the last Review Conference in 2015 unable to even reach an agreement on a way forward for disarmament. Various diplomats, including those from Russia and the United States have already stated that the Review Conference in 2020 is unlikely to have a positive outcome.

The statement also included a renewed commitment to the Iran Nuclear Deal (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and lamented the collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) which could see a new arms race between Russia, the United States and potentially China.

Many other states had used their statements at the UN to call on states to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, citing the deadlock in the NPT process and the frustration of the non nuclear-armed states with the lack of progress towards disarmament among the nine nuclear-armed.

Christian CND continues to pray for the nine nuclear-armed states, including the United Kingdom, to engage with the Ban Treaty, as well as praying for the outcome of the NPT Review Conference in 2020 to be positive.

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