NATO Current Affairs

Colombia joins NATO as global partner

Colombia has formally joined North Atlantic Treaty Organization as global partner. It makes it first Latin American to join NATO. The announcement came after Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) approved Colombia as a new member.

Background

NATO alliance had reached partnership agreement with Colombia back in May 2017, just after the Latin American signed peace agreement with communist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), ending the longest-running civil conflict in Latin America. The peace deal had earned Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.

Key Facts

As a global partner with NATO, Colombia will not necessarily have to take part in active military actions of NATO but will be fully accredited to 29-nation military alliance. It will cooperate on global security areas like cyber and maritime security, terrorism and links to organized crime. Other global partners of NATO include Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand and Pakistan.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries based on the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949. It is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, while headquarters of its Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.

NATO system constitutes of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to attack by any external party. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global defence spending.

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122 Countries adopts historic global treaty to ban Nuclear Weapons 

The United Nations has adopted a historic global treaty banning nuclear weapons. The treaty was adopted by a vote of 122 members in favour. The Netherlands was the only country who voted against the treaty. Singapore abstained from voting.

Costa Rica’s ambassador, Elayne Whyte Gomez, was the president of the UN conference that negotiated the treaty. Nearly 129 countries signed up to take part in the drafting of the treaty which represents two-thirds of the UN’s193 member states. Nearly 141 countries led by Austria, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and New Zealand drafted the treaty in a hope that the treaty would increase pressure on the nuclear powers to take disarmament more seriously.

The treaty would be opened for signature on September 20. It will enter into force once 50 countries ratified it. All of the ratifying countries should never under any circumstances develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. The treaty also bans any transfer or use of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices.

Opposition

The nine nuclear powers, namely, the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel neither took part in the negotiations nor cast their vote. Even Japan the sole sufferer of atomic attack refrained from taking part in the negotiations. Most of the NATO countries too boycotted the negotiations.

The nuclear powers view the treaty as unrealistic and argue that it will not have any impact on reducing the global stockpile of 15000 atomic weapons. According to the nuclear powers, their nuclear arsenals serve as a deterrent against nuclear attacks and they remain committed to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT seeks to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and puts the onus on nuclear states to reduce their stockpiles.

But the non-nuclear states are increasingly worried about the slow pace of disarmament and are concerned that weapons of mass destruction may fall into the wrong hands.

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