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UN Approves Treaty To Ban Nuclear Weapons Despite Boycott By Nuclear Powers

The first-ever treaty to ban nuclear weapons has been approved by 122 countries despite a boycott by all nuclear-armed states.

The vote was announced on July 7 by Elayne Whyte Gomez, president of the United Nations conference that negotiated the treaty, to loud applause.

"We have managed to sow the first seeds of a world free of nuclear weapons," she said. "The world has been waiting for this legal norm for 70 years," since atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, she said.

None of the nine countries that possess nuclear weapons -- the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel -- supported the treaty.

In a joint statement, UN ambassadors from the United States, Britain, and France said the treaty "clearly disregards the realities of the international security environment."

It offers no solution to "the grave threat posed by North Korea's nuclear program, nor does it address other security challenges that make nuclear deterrence necessary," they said.

A ban that doesn't address these concerns "cannot result in the elimination of a single nuclear weapon and will not enhance any country's security," they said.

Western nuclear powers instead want to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP