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Diplomat says decision to suspend Russia-US plutonium treaty not to affect disarmament

A diplomat stresses Moscow is ready resume compliance with the treaty as soon as the US eliminates the circumstances that have brought about its suspension

MOSCOW, October 4. /TASS/. Russia’s decision to pause the operation of the treaty with the United States on the disposal of excessive plutonium will not entail any negative effects for the state of affairs in nuclear non-proliferation or disarmament, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s non-proliferation and arms control department, Mikhail Ulyanov, said at a meeting of the first committee at the 71st UN General Assembly session in New York. The text of his statement was placed on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.

Ulyanov underscored two circumstances.

"Firstly, we introduced a national moratorium on the production of plutonium for making nuclear weapons back a quarter of a century ago," he said. "We would like to draw special attention to the fact that the presidential decree of October 3, 2016 states unequivocally that all plutonium earlier declared as no longer necessary for defense purposes and subject to the operation of the treaty and protocols to it will be preserved beyond the scope of nuclear weapons activity."

"Secondly, Russia does not walk out of the agreement," Ulyanov said. "We will be prepared to resume compliance with the treaty as soon as the United States eliminates the circumstances that have brought about its suspension. The specific conditions for its resumption will be determined by Russia’s Federal Assembly." Ulyanov believes that the treaty’s suspension "does not affect the international agenda; it concerns exclusively relations between Russia and the United States and came as a result of Washington’s shortsighted policies and non-compliance with its liabilities."

He voiced the hope that if the United States takes the necessary steps after all to straighten the existing situation, it will see to it its compliance with the obligations under the treaty begins not in twenty or thirty years to come, contrary to what many US specialists predict, but within the established deadlines and in accordance with previously agreed approaches to make sure the disposal of plutonium becomes truly irreversible."