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March 26, 2017 4:29

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01:34 17 February 2017

Nuke ban treaty prep meeting held in N.Y.

NEW YORK, Feb. 16, Kyodo

The first preparatory meeting for negotiations on a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons took place at the United Nations in New York on Thursday.

At the outset of the meeting, Costa Rican Ambassador to the U.N. Office and other international organizations in Geneva, Elayne Whyte Gomez, was elected to chair the talks.

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 negotiations 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.

Of the five major states possessing nuclear weapons, the United States, Britain, France and Russia are vehemently opposed to the treaty, while China is thinking of joining the talks.

Mexico and Austria have been among the countries that have strongly pursued the start of the negotiations and urging Japan and North Atlantic Treaty Organization member states to join the talks.

Japan remains vague about whether it will join the talks, reflecting its reliance on U.S. nuclear deterrence for protection. Tokyo nonetheless professes to aspire to a nuclear-weapon-free world as the only country to have been attacked with atomic bombs.

==Kyodo

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