Russia announces new era in disarmament, arms control
MOSCOW: Events from last year have marked the threshold of a new era in arms control, the Russian foreign minister said Wednesday.
The internationally-accepted legal base for disarmament that has maintained security and stability for decades has been destroyed, Sergey Lavrov told the plenary session of the Conference of Disarmament in Geneva.
Lavrov recalled in this connection problems around the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty saying that bilateral Russian-American agreements no longer meet the demands of time.
“The time has come to think seriously about how to make the nuclear arms control process multilateral, acceptable to all involved states,” he said, adding that currently dozens of countries can produce such weapons.
The top diplomat voiced concern over the possible destruction of other “pillars” of the arms control system; the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) which expires in 2021 and Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
“Russia supports START Treaty extension for another five years. This would make it possible to prevent further degradation of the situation in the sphere of strategic stability, as well as to gain time to study possible approaches to new weapons appearing in the world and ways of extending control over them, as not all such weapons fall under the current regime,” he said.
Commenting the situation around the NPT, Lavrov expressed worry over U.S. refusal to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, to prevent the placement of weapons in outer space and to resume nuclear tests. A UN conference meant to address the problems is scheduled for November, he said.
“Meanwhile, the U. S. has already allocated funds for the creation of a space segment of the air-defense system and deployment of the space strike weapons. Apparently, this segment will have the ability to hit, among others, space objects. Thus, a real combat structure will be built, ready at any time to clean outer space from the orbital property of countries that Washington does not like,” he said.
Lavrov reiterated the “decline” of UN structures, created to deal with disarmament, arm controls and non-proliferation problems.
“The state of the UN disarmament structures is a reflection of the general complication of the international situation in the domain,” he said.
Concluding his speech, Lavrov stressed the importance of the Disarmament Conference, saying in difficult times it is necessary to preserve the format as a united negotiating venue for a wide range of problems regarding disarmament, arm control and non-proliferation. (AA)