Why France will not sign the treaty for the prohibition of nuclear weapons in the UN

It is not. France will not sign the treaty for the prohibition of nuclear weapons adopted at the united Nations on 7 July in New York. A treaty to ban nuclear weapons was adopted on Friday at the united Nations after months of discussions but the text was boycotted by the United States, France or the Uk, nuclear powers, which deem it unsuitable. The treaty, which will enter into force once ratified by 50 countries, has been endorsed by 122 member States, or almost two-thirds of the countries belonging to the Un. Only one country voted against, and another abstained.

The united Nations general Assembly had adopted last December a resolution (113 votes for, 35 votes against and 13 abstentions) to “negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, and lead to their total elimination”. Wishful thinking in a world increasingly dangerous.

Why France has not participated in the negotiations

Why France will not sign this text. “It is an inappropriate model in the context of international security, characterized by increasing tensions and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, which is demonstrated in particular by the nuclear threat of north korea, said Friday the ministry of foreign Affairs. France has not participated in the negotiations of this treaty and it does not intend to accede to it”. This treaty was not binding on France and “does not create new obligations,” noted the ministry of foreign Affairs.

In recent days, France has also shown its commitment to the nuclear deterrence to the image of the senate report, on “the necessary modernization of the nuclear deterrent”, and especially the speech of the president of the Republic, which was reaffirmed at the Congress of Versailles that the nuclear deterrent was “the keystone of security in France”. Emmanuel Macron is in addition made last Tuesday at the Isle Longue, in Brittany, where he has performed a dive of four hours aboard the nuclear submarine, The Terrible.

“The policy of security and defence of France, as well as that of allies and other close partners, is based on nuclear deterrence, said the Quai d’orsay. Deterrence aims to protect our country from any attack originating from the state against its vital interests, wherever it comes from, and regardless of the form. The international context does not allow for any weakness. A treaty banning nuclear weapons risk in this regard affect the security of the euro-atlantic region and international stability. This treaty is also likely to undermine the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime”.

In addition, noted the Quai d’orsay, “the decision of a large number of States, with, owners or not of nuclear weapons, not to participate in the negotiations, in Europe and in Asia in particular, illustrates with force the offset”. Dozens of States members of the united nations have effectively shunned the negotiations. In total, 37% of the member States of the UN have not signed this treaty.

Disarmament ?

“Nuclear disarmament cannot be decreed, it is built”, has also said the ministry of foreign Affairs. France remains determined to implement “the next concrete steps in nuclear disarmament, in accordance with its commitments under the treaty on the non-proliferation of weapons”, he recalled. What are the priority next steps in nuclear disarmament ? This is particularly the negotiation of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for the manufacture of nuclear weapons and the early entry into force of the treaty of complete prohibition of nuclear tests. The reduction of the nuclear arsenals the Russian and u.s., which represent 90% of the global stock of nuclear weapons, is another important goal, according to the Quai d’orsay.

For its part, Paris has already taken “practical measures and substantial nuclear disarmament, including reducing by half its nuclear arsenal, stopping nuclear testing, ratifying the treaty of complete prohibition of nuclear testing, and closing of irreversibly its facilities for production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons”. France ensures that it will also continue its efforts in favour of the security and international stability, including in the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

A victory for the opponents of nuclear weapons

After more than ten years of efforts of the international Campaign to abolish nuclear weapons (ICAN), and 72 years after the first use of an atomic weapon, the United Nations adopted a treaty that categorically prohibits nuclear weapons, welcomed the ICAN. “It is a legally binding instrument, very strong, and we are satisfied”, for his by considered Initiatives for Nuclear Disarmament (IDN), whose president is former Defence minister Paul Quilès. Quite simply, for IDN, “this is a historic event”. This organization believes that the adoption of this treaty by 122 countries, is “remarkable, given the strong pressures from the United States, the United Kingdom and France and their allies, especially on the african continent”.

“Until now, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction that were not covered by a ban treaty, despite the humanitarian consequences and disastrous in the event of a detonation, be it deliberate or accidental, was reminded of the ICAN. Biological weapons were banned in 1972 and the chemical weapons in 1992.

For Alexia Berny, a member of the ICAN France, “the adoption of this treaty by the united nations marks the beginning of the end of the nuclear era. It is indisputable that nuclear weapons violate the laws of war and constitute a clear danger to the security of the world.” A message very optimistic (too much?)… According to ICAN, the adoption of this treaty clearly indicates that the majority of States of the world cannot accept nuclear weapons and not as tools of war legitimate.

This association has regretted that France does not participate in this treaty. The development of international standards leads to concrete changes in policies and behaviors military, even in States that are not parties to the treaty. However, she said, “the objection repeated and the boycott of the negotiations by the States with nuclear weapons, demonstrate that this treaty has a significant impact on their policy. History has shown us that this has been the case with other treaties on prohibition of weapons (anti-personnel mines, sub-munitions)”.

“It is very disappointing to see that France is heading to continue its doctrine of nuclear deterrence, to modernize its arsenal, and to ignore the major step forward represented by this treaty,” said Patrice Bouveret, member of the board of ICAN France.

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