Edinburgh CND News 27th December

+++Edinburgh CND will not be having a formal meeting in January. We will be visiting Faslane on the 7th and attending a memorial for John Ainslie on the 13th. Further details to follow.

Don’t forget to sign the e-petition to urge the UK government to take part in the UN talks. See update below:

In Historic Vote, UN General Assembly Mandates
2017 Negotiations to Ban Research, Development, Testing, Stockpiling, Use of Nuclear Weapons
“Most significant nuclear disarmament development since Cold War”
Contact: Greg Mello, 505-265-1200 (office), 505-577-8563 (cell)
Trish Williams-Mello, 505-265-1200 (office), 505-577-3366 (cell)
The resolution was carried by a large majority despite the late hour on a Friday evening two days before Christmas, with 113 member states voting in favour, 35 against, and 13 abstaining.
According to a press release this evening from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which has been coordinating NGO support for a nuclear ban treaty, the US attempted to block funding for negotiations last week:
At a UN budget committee meeting earlier this week, the United States attracted the ire of other nations when it objected to a funding request for the planned four weeks of negotiations on the treaty, to be held at UN headquarters in New York. But under intense pressure from supporters of nuclear disarmament, it eventually withdrew its objection, and the committee authorized the request.
For background on the vote see: “UN votes to outlaw nuclear weapons in 2017” (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Oct 27, 2016) and “Historic UN vote to mandate negotiation of treaty banning nuclear weapons” (Los Alamos Study Group, Oct 24, 2016). A concise explanation and FAQs about the upcoming negotiations can be found in a December summary by ICAN. Selected further background is here and at ICAN.
The resolution’s operative paragraphs mandate “a United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination,” to occur “from 27 to 31 March and from 15 June to 7 July 2017, with the participation and contribution of international organizations and civil society representatives.”
Crucially, treaty negotiations would occur under General Assembly rules – that is, without a consensus requirement or veto option, “unless otherwise agreed by the conference.” Creating a negotiating forum without a de facto veto rule has been a major goal of the resolution’s sponsors.
L.41 requires the spring 2017 negotiating conference to “submit a report on its progress to the General Assembly at its seventy-second session [autumn, 2017], which will assess the progress made in the negotiations and decide the way forward” – by majority rule, again.
The ban treaty envisioned by the resolution would stigmatize and prohibit nuclear weapons, closing the “legal gap” stemming from nuclear weapon state practice and their associated assertion in diplomatic and legal fora that nuclear weapons are completely legitimate weapons – for these states only.[1]
Please see our ban treaty web page http://www.lasg.org/BAN/BAN_open.html for in-depth background. The International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), in which the Study Group is a US partner organization, has provided an excellent, concise overview of the negotiations to come as well as highlights of this year’s campaign action

Ask your MP to sign the EDM 578 text below.
That this House notes that the UN Open-ended working group on Nuclear Disarmament concluded with the submission of a draft resolution to the UN General Assembly which calls for a conference to be convened in 2017 with a view to negotiating a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination; welcomes this proposal as a positive steps towards achieving the aim of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and of successive UK Governments of a world without nuclear weapons; and calls on the Government to participate fully in these discussions at the UN and encourage all other nations to do the same

STOP PRESS 1. LASQ also urges caution rather than panic over the Trump Nuclear tweet: Bulletin 228: Trump Tweet Hysteria
2. UNFOLD ZERO is organising a number of private meetings on the UN High Level Conference with governments, as well as open consultation meetings with non-governmental organisations in Geneva, London, New York, Vienna, Washington and other locations in early 2017.At these meetings they will discuss strategy and campaign activities to build success for the UN High Level Conference. For more information see UN to hold High Level Conference on nuclear disarmament.

Other News:
News from Australia: It’s been another big year with Walks happening through Karlamilyi in the Pilbara along with the annual Walkatjurra Walkabout through the Goldfields. This was followed by the annual ANFA meeting in Kalgoorlie. We have had lots of public meetings in Fremantle and Perth with Traditional Owners coming from all over W.A to voice their concerns and to also meet with many Politicians.
Thank you to all the people who have supported this through out the year. It would never happen without the ongoing generosity and support from you all.

Marshall Islands: The Arms Control Association, a prominent Washington, DC-based group promoting arms control policies, has announced the finalists for its annual Arms Control Person of the Year award.
One of the finalists is the government of the Marshall Islands and its former Foreign Minister Tony de Brum, “for pursuing a formal legal case in the International Court of Justice in The Hague against the world’s nuclear-armed states for their failure to initiate nuclear disarmament negotiations in violation of Article VI of the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law.”
Voting is open now through January 5, 2017, at this link: https://www.armscontrol.org/acpoy.

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