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UNITED NATIONS, April 28. /TASS/. Russia has ratified a protocol to the Treaty on a Nuclear Free Zone in Central Asia and it hopes that the document will be signed soon, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department for nonproliferation and armaments control, Mikhail Ulyanov, said here on Monday.
"Russia has completed ratification of the protocol to the Treaty on a Nuclear Free Zone in Central Asia and we hope that a protocol to the Treaty on a Nuclear Free Zone in Southeast Asia will be signed soon enough, too," he said at a review conference on observance of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
The Treaty on a Nuclear Free Zone in Central Asia, which took effect in 2009, envisions that all the signatories - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan - renounce development, purchases or storage of nuclear weaponry.
To turn the treaty into a full-fledged document, each of the five nations possessing nuclear weapons officially - Russia, Britain, China, France, and the US - should give guarantees to the member-states that the nukes will never be used against them. This is to be done by signing an appropriate protocol.
The same practice has been applied to the treaties on all other nuclear-free zones in case of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Treaty on a Nuclear Free Zone in South East Asia, etc.
On Monday, President Barack Obama sent the protocol for ratification to the US Senate. He said in the letter of explanations that this step would benefit the US by raising the country’s security. Also, it would support Washington’s efforts to avert a fast buildup of the masses of nuclear weapons across the world and consolidate relations between the US and Central Asian countries,
Askar Beshimov, Kyrgyzstan’s foreign ministry told the review conference Kyrgyzstan hoped the US would round up the signing procedure soon.
He also said that by setting up a nuclear free zone the regional countries were making a sizable contribution to the nuclear nonproliferation regime, as well as to regional and global security.