Ploughshares Fund Statement on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

July 7, 2017

For Immediate Release: July 7, 2017

Media Contacts: Tom Collina, Joe Cirincione, 202-783-4401

Washington, DC: Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, welcomes the July 7 adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by 122 nations at the United Nations in New York.

For the first time since the introduction of the atomic bomb in 1945, nuclear weapons — like biological and chemical weapons — are now banned by a legally binding international agreement.

"This is a stunning rebuke to the nuclear-armed states," said Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund. "The majority of nations in the world — who do not have nuclear weapons but would suffer immensely from their use — have now condemned the very possession of the most destructive weapons ever invented."

"This Treaty is a powerful reminder of the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s obligation for the nuclear-armed states to negotiate disarmament,” said Dr. Tytti Erästö, the Roger L. Hale Fellow at Ploughshares Fund, who closely followed the negotiations. "It further strengthens non-proliferation efforts."

"It is time for the United States and the other nuclear-armed nations to support this process," said Tom Collina, Policy Director at Ploughshares Fund. “If those nations with nuclear weapons continue to ignore their disarmament commitments and dismiss this new Treaty, they will undermine efforts to stop the spread of these weapons. Nuclear risks will grow."

The Treaty represents the latest addition to the international legal instruments forming the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, which includes the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, bilateral US-Russian arms control agreements and regional Nuclear Weapons Free Zones.

The nine states that possess nuclear weapons (the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea) did not attend the negotiations and are not expected to sign the Treaty. Thus the Treaty will not eliminate nuclear weapons in the short term. In the long term, it is hoped that the Treaty will further delegitimize nuclear weapons, strengthening efforts to stop their spread and to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.