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Malta signs UN nuclear weapon ban treaty

Support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons continues to grow, with Malta becoming the 84th nation to sign the landmark agreement on 25 August, just one week after Mozambique signed it. The two new signatures follow ratifications earlier this month by Ireland, Nigeria, Niue, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Malta will now work to complete its domestic process to ratify the treaty and become a state party.

The treaty was signed by Malta’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, who will chair a United Nations General Assembly meeting on 26 August devoted to enhancing public awareness about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions, in commemoration of the International Day against Nuclear Tests.

The foreign ministry issued a statement to the media explaining its decision: “The signature of this important treaty continues to underscore Malta’s unwavering commitment towards nuclear non-proliferation, and highlights its commitment towards achieving prosperity through peace.”

Malta participated in the negotiation of the nuclear weapon ban treaty in 2017 and was among 122 nations that voted to adopt the final text. The treaty categorically outlaws nuclear weapons and establishes a legal framework for the elimination of existing stockpiles. It also mandates assistance to victims of the use and testing of nuclear weapons.

In 2016, Malta was a co-sponsor of the UN General Assembly resolution that established the formal mandate for states to commence the negotiations in 2017 on “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. A year earlier, it was among 127 states that endorsed a “humanitarian pledge” to cooperate “in efforts to stigmatise, prohibit, and eliminate nuclear weapons”.

25 August 2020

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