Russia blocks final draft of nuclear disarmament deal

Russia blocks final draft of nuclear disarmament deal

Russia has blocked the final document of the latest review of the UN treaty seen as the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament, which criticized its military seizure of Europe’s largest nuclear plant in Zaporizhia – a move that has raised fears of a nuclear disaster.

That’s according to the Associated Press, Ukrinform reports.

Igor Vishnevetsky, deputy chief of MFA Russia’s Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department, said that “unfortunately there is no consensus on this document.” He insisted that many countries — not just Russia — didn’t agree with “a whole host of issues” in the 36-page last draft.

The final draft had to be approved by all states that are parties to the treaty.

Argentine Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen, president of the conference, said the final draft represented his best efforts to address divergent views and the expectations of the parties “for a progressive outcome” at a moment in history when “our world is increasingly wracked by conflicts, and, most alarmingly, the ever growing prospect of the unthinkable nuclear war.”

Read also: Russians torturing ZNPP staff so that they don’t ‘say too much’ to IAEA inspectors – Energoatom

“I see that at this point, the conference is not in a position to achieve agreement on its substantive work,” the official said.

After the conference’s failure to pass the draft, dozens of countries expressed their views.

Indonesia, speaking on behalf of the Nonaligned Movement comprising 120 developing countries, expressed disappointment at the failure, calling the final document “of utmost importance.”

Yann Hwang, France’s ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, read a statement on behalf of 56 countries and the European Union reaffirming unwavering support to Ukraine and deploring Russia’s “dangerous nuclear rhetoric, actions and provocative statements about raising its nuclear alert level.”

The countries expressed deep concern that Russia is undermining international peace and the objectives of the NPT “by waging its illegal war of aggression against Ukraine.”

Russia’s deputy delegation chief, Andrei Belousov, said the conference had become “a political hostage” to countries that were “poisoning discussions” with political language on Ukraine and were determined “to settle scores with Russia by raising issues that are not directly related to the treaty.”

Adam Scheinman, the U.S. special representative for nuclear nonproliferation, noted the final draft never named Russia, and he said it understated the situation at the Zaporizhzhia plant “and failed to acknowledge what we all know to be true — that the risk of radiological disaster only exists because of Russia’s war of choice.”

“Russia is the reason we do not have consensus today,” he said. “The last-minute changes that Russia sought were not of a minor character. They were intended to shield Russia’s obvious intent to wipe Ukraine off the map.”

The draft final document would have expressed deep concern “that the threat of nuclear weapons use today is higher than at any time since the heights of the Cold War and at the deteriorated international security environment.” It would also have committed parties to the treaty “to making every effort to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again.”

As reported, the NPT Review Conference, which involves more than 190 states, was supposed to be held every five years, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the second time this year that participating countries failed to adopt an outcome document – the latest review conference in 2015 ended without an agreement due to serious disagreements over the creation of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

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