Talks have begun at the United Nations in an attempt to create a legally binding ban on atomic weapons.
But the United States is leading a movement to boycott the effort, supported by at least 20 allies, including Britain, France, Turkey and South Korea, among others.
At least 40 member states were absent from the chambers of the General Assembly during the debate on Monday, according to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley.
Haley contends that global security threats make such a ban unrealistic.
“I’m a mother. I’m a wife. I’m a daughter. I always think of my family first,” Haley told reporters. “Our job is to protect our people and our country. To keep them safe. To keep the peace.
“We would love to have a ban on nuclear weapons but in this day and time we cannot honestly say that we can protect our people by allowing the bad actors to have them and those of us who are good trying to keep the peace and safety not to have them.”
At least 113 met at the UN to discuss the resolution passed last November “to convene in 2017 a United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.”
Among those who had opposed the resolution at that time were five of the world’s nine nuclear powers: the US, UK, Russia, China, India, Israel, France, North Korea and Pakistan. Those who opposed the resolution were the U.S., UK, Russia, France and Israel — which is considered a nuclear power, although its government officially doesn’t discuss its nuclear apparatus. Australia has also opposed the measure.