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Russia pressing for conference on making Middle East WMD-free zone before 2020

May 10, 2017, 18:34 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia is urging to convene a conference before 2020 on creating a zone free of the weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East

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© AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

MOSCOW, May 10. /TASS/. Russia is urging to convene a conference before 2020 on creating a zone free of the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Middle East, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department Mikhail Ulyanov said on Wednesday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry department head made this statement at the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The text of his speech was posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.

"It is necessary to aspire for the conference on the WMD-free zone to take place before the 2020 Review Conference on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, desirably, no later than in a couple of years," he said.

"In view of this, it is necessary to start preparatory work as soon as possible. The first meeting, in our view, could take place in the imminent future," the diplomat said.

Venue of the meeting

The conference on the WMD-free zone can crown with success, if thorough preparatory work is carried out "to reach accord on the organizational modalities of the Conference: the drafts of its agenda, the rules of the work procedure, and also the final document that would define further steps for creating the WMD-free zone," Ulyanov noted.

For this purpose, it is necessary to hold a series of preparatory meetings, to which all the states of the Mideast region should be invited. Such meetings should take place regularly with a periodicity that will be required, the Russian diplomat said.

Geneva or Glion could be the venue for holding such negotiations, Ulyanov said.

"As an alternative, we also propose considering the possibility of holding preparatory meetings in Cairo with their link to the sessions of the League of Arab States Senior Officials Committee that would allow ensuring the high representation of Middle East countries in such meetings both by the level and the number of participants," the diplomat said.

"In case of the regional states’ interest, Russia would be ready to hold one or two preparatory meetings in Moscow," the Russian diplomat said.

Work procedure

All decisions in the process of the Conference preparation should be made through a consensus, the diplomat said.

"We consider the consensus rule as a guarantee of the participation of all the region’s countries in this work, and also as a necessary pre-requisite for achieving weighed and generally acceptable decisions," he noted.

As the Russian diplomat said, all the decisions made at preparatory meetings need to be sealed on paper. "It is also desirable to carry out preparatory work in compliance with an earlier approved plan that must be adopted without delays," the diplomat said.

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