UNITED NATIONS, October 26. /TASS/. The United Nations First Committee has refused to consider a Russian draft resolution in support of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
Thus, fifty-five countries, including Argentina, Greece, the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, Canada, the United States, Ukraine, and France, voted against, citing as a reason procedural violations as the document was submitted beyond the due date. In the course of discussions, a number of states, such as Belarus, Ira, China and Syria, drew attention to the fact that such procedural violations were no obstacle for considering documents of paramount importance for peace and security. Thirty-one countries voted in favor, and fifty-three nations abstained.
"Most of those who abstained are enthusiastic advocates of nuclear disarmament," Andrei Belousov, a deputy director of the Russian foreign ministry’s non-proliferation and arms control department, said, commenting on Friday’s voting. "Most of those who voted against were supporters of the INF Treaty. I don’t understand their position [during the voting]."
"In a span of a year, if the United States withdraws from the treaty and begins to build up its nuclear potential uncontrollably, we will have to face another reality and the procedural issues we have been locking horns over for two days will look so small and insignificant and we would regret today’s decision," the Russian diplomat warned.
US President Donald Trump said on October 20 that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty because Russia was violating the terms of the agreement. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov described this decision as a dangerous step. Washington’s decision came under criticism from Berlin and Beijing.
Earlier in the week, the Russian side officially circulated within the UN secretariat a draft resolution in support to the INF Treaty. The text was also referred to the chairperson of the UN First Committee. On Friday, the Committee refused by a majority vote to consider the document.
The INF, or The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, Treaty was signed between the former Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987 and entered into force on June 1, 1988. In 1992, following the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the treaty was multilateralized with the former Soviet republics - Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine - as successors. The INF Treaty covered deployed and non-deployed ground-based short-range missiles (from 500 to 1,000 kilometers) and intermediate-range missiles (from 1,000 to 5,500 kilometers).
The US accused Russia of violating the treaty for the first time in July 2014. Since then, Washington has been repeating its claims on many occasions, while Moscow has been rejecting them and advancing counter-claims concerning the implementation of the treaty by the US side.