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Australia rejects UN talks on treaty to ban nuclear weapons

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Australia will not participate in a conference in March to discuss banning nuclear weapons, the foreign ministry has said on Thursday.

“The international summit is scheduled to take place in New York on March 27 and aims to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.

“The Australian government’s longstanding position is that the proposed treaty to ban nuclear weapons does not offer a practical path to effective disarmament or enhanced security,’’ a spokeswoman for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.

Some 123 countries voted in 2016 in favour of holding the conference.

Australia was among 38 countries that were opposed, alongside countries including the U.S., Russia, Israel, France and the UK.

Report says Australia relies on the U.S.’ nuclear deterrent to protect against attacks on the country.

An Australian anti-nuclear weapons campaign group said Australia’s decision was bitterly disappointing and out of step with the stance of neighbouring countries in the region.

“This is an unprecedented move for Australia to not participate in multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations,’’ she told newsmen.

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