GENEVA (Kyodo) -- The president of U.N. negotiations to outlaw nuclear weapons released the first draft of a treaty on Monday, with references to the suffering of victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Costa Rican Ambassador to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva, Elayne Whyte Gomez, released it ahead of the second round of U.N. talks to be held from June 15 through July 7 in New York.
The preamble of the text said the countries participating in the talks are "mindful of the suffering of the victims of the use of nuclear weapons (Hibakusha) as well as of those affected by the testing of nuclear weapons."
Expressing deep concern about "the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from any use of nuclear weapons," the text forbids states to develop, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess, transfer, receive, stockpile, test or use nuclear weapons.
In the first round of negotiations held in March, diplomats and activists agreed that the conference exceeded expectations and said the goal of realizing the first-ever treaty of its kind is within reach for July.
More than 115 countries participated in the conference with over 220 representatives from civil society, including atomic bomb victims from Hiroshima.
However, the major nuclear weapon states -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- did not join the negotiations, nor did Japan, Germany or South Korea, which rely on U.S. nuclear deterrence for protection.
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