Co-founders of NuclearBan.US, Timmon Wallis and Vicki Elson, were in New York City visiting UN embassies on behalf of ICAN when they got the news.
“It is an enormous privilege to now be officially representing ICAN in these meetings with officials from other countries,” said Timmon. “ICAN has not only won a Nobel Peace Prize, but over the course of the last decade has won the respect and admiration of diplomats and politicians around the world for their tireless efforts to eliminate these abhorrent weapons of mass destruction.”
Timmon and Vicki spoke with a number of UN Missions in New York, including those of Bolivia, South Africa, Mongolia, Antigua and Barbuda, Kiribati, Tajikistan, Dominica and North Korea. They were reassured that a number of countries who have not yet signed the Nuclear Ban Treaty are still on course to do so. The Treaty was adopted last year by 122 countries to 1, and so far 56 countries have signed it and 5 have ratified. More signatures will certainly be coming in over the next few months, and the race is on to be among the top 10 to ratify…
ICAN’s top priority right now is to convince more countries to sign the Nuclear Ban Treaty and to get the 50 ratifications needed for the Treaty to enter into force. Most of that work must take place in those other countries, where ICAN partners are busy campaigning for their own governments to sign and ratify the Treaty. What happens here in the United States, however, can also influence those other governments.
In talking with UN Missions in New York, it was very clear that other countries will sit up and take notice if cities and states in the US start committing themselves to the Treaty, much as they are doing in relation to the Paris Climate Accords. There is a lot of pessimism among diplomats from other countries about the political situation in the US and the chances of making any progress on nuclear disarmament in the present climate. Seeing that there is real movement on this issue at the local level – even in the United States – is hugely encouraging to them!