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February 21, 2017 9:43

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08:01 26 January 2017

Nuke ban treaty prep meeting confirmed for Feb. 16: diplomats

NEW YORK, Jan. 25, Kyodo

The first preparatory meeting for talks on a treaty banning nuclear arms is expected to take place at the United Nations in New York on Feb. 16, U.N. diplomats confirmed Wednesday.

Multiple sources also told Kyodo News that Costa Rican Ambassador to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva, Elayne Whyte Gomez, is slated to chair the talks.

There had earlier been speculation among nuclear abolition groups that Thailand's Ambassador in Geneva, Thani Thongphakdi, might have been chosen. However, Thani, who chaired a working group on disarmament in Switzerland last year, was ruled out due to a posting back to his home country, sources said.

At the initial meeting, members of a bureau to work with the chair will also be chosen. This marks a first step in carrying out the mandate of two consecutive rounds of talks in line with the landmark resolution endorsed by the U.N. General Assembly on Dec. 23.

The first round of talks will run from March 27 to 31, with the second taking place from June 15 through July 7. Both sessions will be held in New York.

A 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.

The issue was taken up in New York in October, when the committee overseeing disarmament issued a resolution which was ultimately endorsed by a large majority in the December plenary session.

==Kyodo

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