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March 24, 2017 19:17

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10:09 18 January 2017

Nuke ban treaty prep meeting to be held on Feb. 16

NEW YORK, Jan. 17, Kyodo

A meeting to lay the groundwork for the start of talks on a treaty banning nuclear arms is slated to take place in New York on Feb. 16, an antinuclear group announced Tuesday.

The meeting will select the chair for two rounds of talks called for by a landmark resolution endorsed by the U.N. General Assembly on Dec. 23 to convene negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons said.

The first round of talks will be held from March 27 to 31 and the second from June 15 through July 7 in New York.

It is expected that Thailand's Ambassador Thani Thongphakdi from Geneva, who chaired a working group on nuclear disarmament in Switzerland last year before discussions moved to New York, will continue to lead the process, an ICAN representative told Kyodo News.

The start of the U.N. process marks a major step toward talks on disarmament and has buoyed the hopes of scores of antinuclear advocates, as well as many Japanese atomic bomb survivors, or hibakusha.

Several hibakusha came to New York to press their case for realizing a world free of nuclear weapons, interacting with member states and civil society last fall to garner support.

The decision to endorse the resolution at the General Assembly followed the Oct. 27 resolution that was adopted by a U.N. committee charged with overseeing disarmament issues.

The motion was initially put forward after the U.N. working group on nuclear disarmament in August adopted a report recommending to the General Assembly that negotiations begin in 2017 to make nuclear weapons illegal.

Austria introduced the draft along with Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria and South Africa as the first stage in the process at the committee level.

==Kyodo

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