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US works against conference on WMD-free zone in MidEast — senior diplomat

The diplomat said Russia was permanently in touch with the Arab Group states on the issue of creating such a zone

MOSCOW, November 8. /TASS/. Washington has been taking backstage actions against convening a conference on the creation of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, which is regrettable, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the media on the sidelines of the 4th Moscow Conference on Nonproliferation.

He said Russia was permanently in touch with the Arab Group states on the issue of creating such a zone.

"We are discussing this issue with all countries of the Middle East and, naturally, with the co-sponsors — the United States and Britain — which, regrettably, have left the co-sponsorship function aside," Ryabkov said.

"Washington has been working behind the scenes against convening this conference on a wide scale," he said, adding this was "regrettable."

"We believe that without the process that will be launched in New York on November 18, without at least the first step along these lines nothing will work," he stated.

In his opinion, "the consensus principle of making decisions might enable all potential participants in this event to firmly safeguard their approaches."

Ryabkov called on the countries "which are capable of assessing the feasibility of their participation in this event to brush aside time-serving considerations and join the process that is to begin on November 18."