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UN chief urges to eliminate existing nuclear arsenals

September 20, 18:14 UTC+3 THE UNITED NATIONS

Earlier on Wednesday, more than 50 countries signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at a signature ceremony held at the UN headquarters in New York

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THE UNITED NATIONS, September 20. /TASS/. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called to eliminate the existing 15,000 nuclear weapons, which endanger the world’s future, in his Wednesday address to participants of a high-level signature ceremony for the nuclear weapons ban treaty.

Guterres said the treaty was drawn up since a growing number of countries had become concerned about the danger emanating from the existence of nuclear weapons, in particular catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences of their use. He reminded that the signed treaty has become a first mandatory international treaty over the past 20 years that bans nuclear weapons.

The UN secretary general was hopeful that the document would help bolster global efforts to eliminate weapons of mass destruction.

"This will require dialogue, bridge-building and practical steps," Guterres said. "There remain some fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in existence. We cannot allow these doomsday weapons to endanger our world and our children’s future."

Earlier on Wednesday, more than 50 countries signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at a signature ceremony held at the UN headquarters in New York. Brazil’s President Michel Temer was the first to put his signature under the document. The high-level signature ceremony was attended by several heads of state and government along with dozens of foreign ministers. Guyana, the Vatican and Thailand are expected to provide signed ratification copies later in the day.

The document is due to come into force 90 days later after 50 countries have ratified it. Under the treaty, the parties will be obliged "never under any circumstances to develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices." Non-nuclear signatory states are prohibited to deploy in their national territories the nuclear weapons of third countries.

The treaty was approved on July 7 at the talks that major nuclear powers (Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, China and France) skipped. Two hours later after the document had been passed, the UK, US and France released a joint statement vowing they would never become party to the treaty. Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow would not ratify the nuclear weapons ban treaty as it runs counter to the country’s national interests.

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