Cook Islands sign nuclear weapons ban treaty

Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna speaks at the 50th anniversary of self government for the Cook Islands. Photo: Cook Islands Government

YAREN/NEW YORK 06 SEPTEMBER 2018 (COOK ISLANDS GOVT) – As Forum Leaders discussed regional security priorities at the annual Forum Leaders Meeting in Nauru, the Cook Islands has re-iterated its anti-nuclear weapons stance by becoming a party to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and calling on Forum Leaders and all states to accede to the Treaty.

The Cook Islands joins New Zealand and Palau as Pacific countries that have ratified the Treaty and brings the Treaty one step further along to taking effect.

The treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons.

This most recent global endeavour for a world free of nuclear weapons through the Treaty is an extension on the foresight of Forum Leaders who more than 30 years ago signed the Treaty of Rarotonga in 1985 when the Cook Islands hosted the annual Forum Leaders meeting. The Rarotonga Treaty signed by Pacific Leaders more than 30 years ago prohibits nuclear explosive devises in the Pacific and bans the testing and use of nuclear explosive technologies in the Pacific.

Prime Minister Puna called on colleague Forum Leaders to again demonstrate global leadership through accession to the Treaty, the call captured in the Leaders Communique. “We in the Pacific are all too aware the cataclysmic effects of nuclear weapons. To this day, some of our people are still suffering the devastating effects of nuclear testing carried out in our region more than 30 years ago”.

The call from Prime Minister Puna aligns with the theme for this year’s Forum Leaders Meeting chosen by Nauru of “A strong Pacific – our people, our islands, our will”. Leaders in their deliberations in Nauru have discussed various regional security related matters and are expected to agree and commit a regional security framework to inform development by officials of an implementation plan in the months ahead.

The Cook Islands Instrument of Accession, signed by Prime Minister Puna, was deposited at the United Nations Headquarters in New York by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Official Siai Taylor.

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