NEW YORK — Fifty countries at the United Nations Wednesday signed a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, the Associated Press reports.
Having met the 50-vote requirement, the ban will take effect after 90 days.
“The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is the product of increasing concerns over the risk posed by the continued existence of nuclear weapons, including the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences of their use,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said at the ceremony, where the treaty was signed.
“The Treaty is an important step towards the universally-held goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. It is my hope that it will reinvigorate global efforts to achieve it,” he added, noting that there are 15,000 nuclear weapons in existence. “We cannot allow these doomsday weapons to endanger our world and our children’s future,” he said.
The treaty was opposed by world powers. The United States, the United Kingdom and France issued a joint press statement declaring they “have not taken part in the negotiation of the treaty … and do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.”
Japan, the last country to be hit with a nuclear weapon, did not sign on to the agreement either, according to the AP.
Although Tokyo has disavowed its own possession and production of nuclear weapons in its own country, the real divide is between countries that possess the weapons and those that do not.
A spokesman for the Japanese government told reporters at the U.N. that the country hopes to bridge that gap in the future.