South Africa will sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons next week during the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly, officials said. President Jacob Zuma will ink the treaty on behalf of South Africa on September 20, presidential spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said on Sunday. “Signature of the treaty reflects South Africa’s continued commitment towards the achievement of a world free from the threat posed by nuclear weapons,” Xinhua news agency quoted Ngqulunga as saying. This will ensure that nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes only, he added. The Presidency issued the statement as Zuma arrived in New York to attend the UN General Assembly session which is under the theme: “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for all on a Sustainable Planet.”
This will be the first General Debate for the newly appointed Secretary-General António Guterres, who started his term on January 1, 2017. South Africa fully supports Guterres who identifies his major priority as the achievement of sustainable peace and security through conflict prevention by establishing a “culture of prevention” in the UN, Ngqulunga said.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons, with the goal of leading towards their total elimination. It was passed on July 7, 2017. South Africa, the only country in the world to dismantle nuclear weapons it developed, has already been a signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons since 1991.