The United States is urging independent countries to withdraw their support from a landmark United Nations treaty which will make nuclear weapons illegal in those countries that sign and ratify it.

It is being widely reported that the US is lobbying states that have already ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to withdraw their support to prevent the treaty coming into force.  A letter to signatories obtained by The Associated Press says that the five original nuclear powers – the US, Russia, China, Britain and France – and America’s NATO allies, ‘stand unified in our opposition to the potential repercussions’ of the treaty.

Kate Hudson, CND General Secretary responded to the reports:

“The letter repeats the mantra that has issued from diplomats and hostile governments over the past few years – that the TPNW is a danger to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the supposed cornerstone of global non-proliferation efforts.

“Of course this is nonsense. The NPT calls for the complete disarmament of nuclear weapons, but includes no practical plan to make that happen. In the 50 years of its existence, any initiatives towards disarmament have hit the brick wall of nuclear state opposition. It is precisely because of the failure of the NPT that much of the global community has brought forward the TPNW as a nuclear ban treaty. It’s a bit rich of the nuclear weapons states to claim to defend the NPT when they have effectively sabotaged it. And though they have been dismissive of the TPNW it’s clear they are now rattled by it.”

The TPNW needs 50 states to sign and ratify before it can enter into force 90 days later. 47 states have ratified at the time of writing, with more states expected to do so imminently.