Media Statement

26 October 2020

South Africa welcomes the 50th ratification of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)

South Africa welcomes the 50th ratification on 24 October 2020 of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) allowing it to enter into force.

The seminal Treaty was adopted by United Nations member states on 07 July 2017 and South Africa signed the Treaty at a signing ceremony held on the margins of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2017 and ratified it on 25 February 2019.

The Treaty prohibits all signatory countries from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities.

Welcoming the final step for the Treaty to come into force, International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Naledi Pandor stated, “The 50th ratification of the Treaty, on United Nations Day, 25 October, is a watershed moment in humanities attempt to rid the world of nuclear weapons. It reminds us that nuclear energy should be solely used for peaceful purposes and not as a weapon of mass destruction.”

Minister Pandor noted, “South Africa is honoured, as the first country to have voluntarily eliminated all its nuclear weapons, to have played a leading role, together with several UN member states and members of civil society in ensuring that the Treaty is agreed upon and now finally ratified. The Treaty exemplifies the central goal of the United Nations, which according to the UN Charter is to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.

The Minister concluded, “Our collective goal must remain to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. In this regard, South Africa, working with others who maintain the same goal, will continue our efforts to ensure the complete elimination of all weapons of mass destruction”

The Treaty complements other international instruments by contributing towards fulfilling the nuclear disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the objectives of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the various nuclear-weapon-free-zone treaties, such as the Pelindaba Treaty that already banned nuclear weapons in Africa.

Enquiries: Mr. Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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