MOSCOW, April 17. /TASS/. Russia will insist on establishing a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East at the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) Review Conference in New York, head of the Department for non-proliferation and weapons control at the Russian Foreign Ministry Mikhail Ulyanov said on Friday.
"For us, a task will be to overcome the stalemate in creating a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East," Ulyanov said. "This follows from our status as one of NPT depository states," he added.
Adopting a final document on nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East at the conference will "be a significant result," Ulyanov said. "The situation with the date [of the conference] stalled since summer last year," the diplomat noted. "However, it’s not only about the date, the agenda of the conference and the draft document should be agreed beforehand, so that everyone knows in advance what to expect," he added.
"These are sensible issues for everyone, including Israel, because then Israel’s nuclear potential will be in the center of attention," Ulyanov said.
Ulyanov called the atmosphere ahead of the NPT Review Conference unhealthy, saying there are considerable imbalances.
"The atmosphere there is unhealthy, there are complaints about the implementation of the Treaty [NPT]," he said.
According to Ulyanov, a final document is expected to be adopted at the conference.
"Everyone expects a final document. It will be a tragedy for us if it is not adopted," Ulyanov said.
Signatories of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will hardly raise the issue of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, the Russian Foreign Ministry official said.
"I wouldn’t do that in their place," Mikhail Ulyanov told journalists. "US counterparts are professionally prepared not to raise the issue."
"This will not lead to anything useful if we exchange mutual reproaches," Ulyanov said, noting that the NPT conference was devoted to other issues.
The NPT Review Conference will take place in New York on April 27-May 22.