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Moscow: Creation of WMD-free zone in Middle East remains on international agenda

October 12, 2015, 20:54 UTC+3
Russia is ready to help the regional states to achieve this goal both at the national level and jointly with the resolution’s co-authors
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© AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

MOSCOW, October 12 /TASS/ Russia will continue seeking the creation of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including nuclear weapons, in the Middle East, a Russian diplomat said on Monday.

"The creation of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, will remain an item in the international agenda until the 1995 resolution on the Middle East (adopted at an NPT review and extension conference) is not fully implemented," Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry department for non-proliferation and arms control, said at the general political discussion held in the first committee of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

"Russia is ready to help the regional states to achieve this goal both at the national level and jointly with the resolution’s co-authors. A conference on creation of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Middle East should be convened as the first step," Ulyanov stressed.

The Russian diplomat said he was disappointed that the NPT Review and Extension Conference held in May 2015 failed to pass the final document because of objections of three states to its Middle East section.

"Regretfully, the three countries mentioned above include the co-authors of the 1995 resolution on the Middle East. We assume that their decision to block the consensus on a compromise and quite balanced project was a serious mistake," Ulyanov stressed.

According to Ulyanov, Russia does not consider the review and extension conference to be a failure because the participants had managed to discuss as planned the implementation of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which consists of three main components such as nuclear disarmament; nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful use of atomic energy.

Ulyanov also criticized NATO for its practice of "joint nuclear missions", which, in his view, violate the NPT provisions.

"Despite an agreement reached on Iran’s nuclear program, serious challenges remain in the nuclear non-proliferation sphere," Ulyanov said at the general political discussion held in the first committee of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

"Apart from the Korean peninsula’s nuclear problem, special attention should be paid to the ongoing practice of NATO member states to carry out ‘joint nuclear missions’ in violation of clauses I and II of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). In all signs, both nuclear and non-nuclear NATO countries are building up cooperation in this sphere," Ulyanov stressed.

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