Opponents of nuclear weapons are cheering after 50 countries have ratified the UN Treaty on Nuclear Weapons, which will enter into force in 90 days. Norway will not support the treaty.
On Saturday – on the UN’s 75th anniversary – Honduras became the 50th country to ratify the agreement, according to the International Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
But when the treaty enters into force on January 22, no NATO country will be taking part in the celebration – not even Norway.
The Red Cross believes it is possible for Norway to join, even though allied countries such as the United States, France, and the United Kingdom have nuclear weapons.
“Some have claimed that a Norwegian adherence to the UN ban on nuclear weapons is contrary to Norway’s obligations to NATO.
“We think that is wrong. There is considerable political and humanitarian room for maneuver in NATO,” Secretary-General Bernt G. Apeland of the Red Cross in Norway said.
He pointed out that Norway has said “no” to the deployment of nuclear weapons on Norwegian soil and that the country has been a driving force for a ban on landmines.
“We must not use obligations as an excuse to not act. If Norway is to continue to be a credible champion of disarmament, we must also ratify the agreement. This is about political will,” Apeland said.
China and Russia
The nuclear powers China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea will not support the ban.
The treaty’s prohibitions and obligations will legally bound all states that have signed the agreement.
The ban on nuclear weapons is one of the UN’s oldest goals.
An overwhelming majority of the world’s states adopted the UN ban on nuclear weapons in 2017.
A total of 122 countries participated in the agreement.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres called Saturday’s milestone historic.
“This represents a meaningful commitment to the total eradication of nuclear weapons, the most important disarmament for the UN,” he said.
Hoping for change
The ICAN hopes that the ban on nuclear weapons will lead to pressure, eventually leading to more countries signing and ratifying the agreement.
That has been the case for previous treaties against landmines.
“We have previously seen that companies stop producing weapons that are banned, and that financial institutions withdraw their investments from the industry,” Tuva Widskjold at ICAN Norway noted.
She pointed out that that process has already started when it comes to nuclear weapons.
“Large banks and pension funds have excluded nuclear weapons from their investment portfolios after the UN adopted the ban in 2017,” she said.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today