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Nuclear weapons ban treaty to dent non-proliferation — Russian Foreign Ministry

The Russian diplomat gave several reasons to explain Moscow’s fears

MOSCOW, October 20. /TASS/. Russia believes that a new treaty banning nuclear weapons will have a negative effect on nonproliferation, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry‘s Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control, Mikhail Ulyanov, said on Friday on the sidelines of the Moscow Nonproliferation Conference.

"We have fears that the new treaty will dent nonproliferation," Ulyanov said.

The Russian diplomat gave several reasons to explain Moscow’s fears.

"First, the treaty switches attention from a military problem, or the main goal, namely creating conditions favorable to promote nuclear disarmament, to a minor topic. For some reason, the treaty supporters believe that it can accelerate the approval of a new agreement on nuclear arsenal reductions," the diplomat said.

"There are no grounds for such expectations," Ulyanov said. "Security reasons are dominant both for the United States and the Russian Federation, along with other nuclear powers. At present, the global situation is such that actually it cannot facilitate new agreements, though there should be attempts to work out a deal."

Russia has long called to create conditions for new agreements, he added.

"For many years, Russia has been calling to focus attention on the conditions which would facilitate new treaties, but to tell the truth, nobody has heard us," he said. "They do not hear us now."

The nuclear weapons ban treaty will risk deeper divisions among states, he said.

"The second negative moment is that the treaty deepens the watershed among its supporters and those who are not ready to join it," Ulyanov said. "Two thirds of the countries participated in the negotiations, whereas one third did not take part. It is yet unknown how many nations will eventually join the treaty. Perhaps, the proportion will be fifty-fifty."

Under the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons treaty, the parties will be obliged "never under any circumstances to develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices." Non-nuclear signatory states are prohibited to deploy in their national territories the nuclear weapons of third countries.