Trump before the world: Scots UN delegates lash out over UK nuclear weapon ban boycott

Scots once again find their anti-Trident hopes frustrated by UK refusal to participate in UN talks

SCOTS LOBBYING for a historic nuclear weapons ban treaty have lashed out at the UK’s decision to “align” with US President Donald Trump in a boycott rather than co-operate in UN talks.

One hundred and twenty three countries voted for the ban treaty under resolution L.41 in October 2016, with only 38 countries opposing and 16 abstaining, and the drafting of the new treaty began yesterday (Monday 26 March).

“The UK Government is choosing to reject the invitation by United Nations to join the negotiations for a Global ban treaty and instead align themselves with Donald Trump.” Janet Fenton, Scottish CND

But the UK has joined the US and more than 40 countries in the western sphere of influence in boycotting the talks. Instead, the block of powerful countries, now lead by Trump – who has struck an anti-global co-operation note in statements – have said they want to maintain the 1970 non-proliferation treaty (NPT).

Scots have not been able to attend the UN votes on a ban treaty, despite the country housing one of the world’s most lethal nuclear weapons system – the Trident naval base at Faslane on the river Clyde. But that hasn’t stopped peace campaigners and politicians attending UN headquarters in New York to lobby for the new treaty.

Vice Chair of Scottish CND Janet Fenton, attending the negotiations with a delegation from Scottish civil society organisations, said: “Nuclear disarmament supporters across Scotland will be misrepresented again to the world. While our own Government, Parliament and all but one of our Members of the UK Parliament support the United Nations Ban Treaty, the UK Government is choosing to reject the invitation by United Nations to join the negotiations for a Global ban treaty and instead align themselves with Donald Trump.”

Campaigners have long insisted that new measures are needed stop the spread of nuclear arms, as the 1970 treaty has failed to halt proliferation. The NPT also leaves ambiguous the legal nature of nuclear weapons. 

The UK’s ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, said: “The UK is not attending the negotiations on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons because we do not believe that those negotiations will lead to effective progress on global nuclear disarmament.”

Scottish UN mission hails “powerful” vote for nuclear weapons ban treaty

The boycott represents the latest attempts by the UK and its allies to de-legitimise UN attempts to curb the nuclear arms race. Nuclear weapons remain the only weapons of mass destruction not banned under international treaty, despite them possessing by far the most destructive potential.

Trident is set to be renewed at a cost of at least £205bn, despite its renewal being opposed by the Scottish Parliament, and every Scottish MP bar one voting against renewal.

Picture courtesy of AMISOM Public Information

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.