Palau made history by becoming the first island-nation to ratify the prohibition of Nuclear Weapons after it deposited its instrument of ratification of the treaty with the United Nations on May 3.

According to the Permanent Mission of Palau to the United Nations Facebook page, on May 3   the instrument was deposited at the UN and accepted by the United Nations Secretary-General in New York.

President Tommy Remengesau Jr. was one of the first countries to sign the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons last year.

The signing occurred September 20th during the 72nd Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City.

“I must give credit to the leaders of my country, who, over 30 years ago, recognized the threat of nuclear weapons and banned the use, test and storage of nuclear weapons in Palau’s Constitution,” Remengesau, Jr., said in his statement to the U.N. General Assembly.

Under the treaty Palau will be barred from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, otherwise acquiring, possessing or stockpiling nuclear weapons under any circumstances.

They also cannot allow the stationing, installation, or deployment of nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices in their territory under any circumstances.

It is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons.

Last year, the Olbiil Era Kelulau gave its approval to the treaty.

Palau was one of the six Pacific island countries and the first group of 50 to sign the treaty. Fiji, Samoa, Tuvalu, and Kiribati are among the other Pacific Island nations who have signed. It needs 50 ratifications among the signatories for the treaty to take effect on nations that backed it.

“While the desire for nuclear bombs and missiles is incomprehensible to those of us who remember the toll nuclear testing and bombing once took upon our friends, families, and neighbors, we cannot bury our heads in the sand. With the direct threats against Guam and Japan, we cannot afford to be silent,” President Remengesau said in a letter to the presiding officers of the Olbiil Era Kelulau.

However, under Palau’s Compact Agreement with the United States, it allows United States nuclear-powered ships and ships and aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons to use in Palau’s territory.

But in an earlier statement, President Remengesau doesn’t see any conflict between the treaty obligations and the compact agreement.

“What is sensitive is that the US is obligated to defend Palau on threats of aggression or in times of war.,” Remengesau said at a press conference earlier this month.

“And we know that the military uses nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered vessels, so based on the compact agreement, the U.S will defend us but is not obligated to confirm the presence of nuclear devices in their war equipments,” the president said. (Bernadette H. Carreon/Contributor)