MOSCOW, October 5. /TASS/. The idea of a complete ban on nuclear weapons makes sense only if all nuclear powers join it, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s non-proliferation and arms control department said at a meeting of the first committee at the 71st UN General Assembly session in New York.
"Practically speaking, the initiative on banning nuclear weapons seems to be very doubtful," Mikhail Ulyanov said in a statement.
"It could have at least some sense only if all nuclear powers were ready to join it, and there is no such readiness on their part. In any case, definitely Russia won’t take part in the events out of synch with reality and conflicting with the previous understanding and agreements," he said.
Russia considers the idea of an immediate nuclear weapons ban as extremely counter-productive, the diplomat stated.
"We respect the views of those who speak for the repudiation of nuclear weapons," the Russian diplomat said.
"We themselves share the noble goal of building a nuclear-free world. The question, however, is how to build the ways of moving towards this goal, without simultaneously undermining strategic stability, without breaking the system of checks and balances in international relations, without plunging the world into chaos and dangerous unpredictability, without endangering the integrity of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and without exacerbating, even if unintentionally, disunity on such a sensitive issue," he noted.
US and the INF Treaty
Moscow is calling on Washington to immediately return to the impeccable and scrupulous compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty:
Ulyanov reiterated that Moscow had warned Washington and Bucharest against deploying a missile defense system to the territory of Romania, adding that this facility, "in spite of its allegedly defense nature, affects Russia’s national security interests," but this call was not heeded. "In spring, the facility was put into operation. Immediately after that, the construction of a similar facility began in Poland," Ulyanov said. He also noted that the next thing on the agenda is the deployment of the US THAAD anti-missile systems to South Korea.
"That means that the concept of the US global missile defense system, which undermines the foundations of strategic stability, makes further nuclear disarmament difficult and whips up tensions at regional and global levels, is being implemented step by step," the diplomat stressed.
According to Ulyanov, the matter is complicated by the fact that "the MK-41 launchers used for launching medium-range missiles from offshore platforms and prohibited for use on shore are deployed contrary to the provisions of the INF Treaty" at the missile defense system facilities in Romania and Poland. "The United States thus not only violates the Treaty itself, but is also involving two countries in no way related to the INF Treaty by its illegal actions. This is coupled with the US violations concerning target missiles and attack drones," Ulyanov explained.
"We are calling on Washington to immediately return to the flawless and scrupulous compliance with the INF Treaty," the diplomat said.
Nuclear Disarmament Conference
Moscow expects the Geneva Conference on Disarmament will resume operations next year.
"We can’t avoid touching upon the deplorable state of the UN disarmament mechanism, particularly, the Geneva Conference on Disarmament, which has been sitting idle for 20 years already," Ulyanov noted. "The efforts to unlock its potential by holding talks on some traditional agenda items have failed and it seems they won’t ever succeed because of the serious contradictions between the participant countries."
According to the Russian diplomat, this is the reason why this past March, Moscow came up with a proposal to hold talks on an issue new to the Conference on Disarmament, that is the International Convention on Suppressing Acts of Chemical and Biological Terrorism. "This is a highly pressing issue, especially taking into consideration the situation in the Middle East," Ulyanov noted. "We are pleased to note that this proposal has been gaining more and more support."
"We expect a consensus on this proposal to emerge next year so that the Conference on Disarmament at last resumes the negotiation activities," the Russian diplomat concluded.
Weapons in space
Moscow also believes it is essential to promptly begin coordination of a legally mandatory treaty on the non-deployment of weapons in space:
"Prevention of an arms race in Space is one of Russia’s priorities. We believe it is essential to start urgent coordination of a binding treaty on the non-deployment of weapons in space," Ulyanov said. "The Russian-Chinese project of such a statement remains on the table of the disarmament conference."
The text of the full statement can be found on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.