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Norway did not support UN Resolutions on Nuclear Weapons

Three UN resolutions on nuclear weapons were adopted by an overwhelming majority at the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday night (GMT). Despite warnings from the parliamentary majority and Norwegian NGOs, the Norwegian Government completed a sensational political shift in Norwegian nuclear weapons policy and did not support any of the three resolutions.

The three UN resolutions that have now been adopted are a continuation of an initiative that the previous Government of Norway started - the so-called Humanitarian Initiative on Nuclear Weapons. During the night UN General Assembly session Norway abstained from voting during the vote of two of these resolutions and voted no to the third. Norway abstained when the UN resolution on the humanitarian consequences on nuclear weapons was adopted by 136 against 18 votes. Norway also abstained from voting when the UN resolution on a humanitarian pledge to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons was adopted by 128 against 29 votes. Finally, Norway voted no to a UN resolution tabled by South Africa, which says that all states have an ethical responsibility to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. This was adopted by 124 against 35 votes.

“With this voting, the Government completely rejects the previous government’s Humanitarian Initiative. It has turned Norway into an unreliable partner. Internationally it causes attention. Countries such as Austria, Mexico, South Africa and Ireland, who stood together with Norway in the start-up of the Humanitarian Initiative, have good reason to feel betrayed”, says Head of Weapon Policy Grethe Østern in Norwegian People's Aid (NPA).

The three UN Resolutions that have now been adopted lay the foundation for the speedy commencement of international negotiations to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. Such negotiations will be open to all states, blockable by none. Including nuclear weapon states.
 
Before the voting started, Australia spoke on behalf of itself and 26 other countries that are under the protection by US Nuclear Weapons. In this statement, Norway took part in deploring the UN Resolutions that had been promoted as a result of the Humanitarian Initiative that Norway started. The three resolutions were criticized for contributing to increased divisions internationally regarding nuclear disarmament.
 
“The Norwegian Government has this year supported nuclear weapons states' desperate attempts to preserve nuclear weapons as a legitimate means and to retain their decades-long stranglehold on nuclear disarmament work”, says Østern.
 
She is especially critical of the fact that the government shows so little respect for the political majority in the Norwegian Parliament – consisting of the Labour Party, Socialist Left Party, the Centre Party, the Christian Democratic Party, Liberal Party and the Green Party. They have made it clear that they want Norway to take a leadership role in the efforts to get in place a ban on nuclear weapons, and that this work is consistent with the Norwegian membership in NATO.
 
“The government's inability to listen must lead to strong reactions in the Parliament. However, this process is now unstoppable, and the parliamentary majority will get more opportunities to make it clear to the government that it must listen. Norway will be able to resume its leadership position in the Humanitarian Initiative again”, says Østern.
 
A fourth resolution that was also supposed to be voted over last night was postponed until later this week after heavy pressure from the nuclear weapon states.

03.11.2015