This year a number of significant events relating to multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation will take place. First, there is the second Preparatory Committee of the 2015 NPT Review Conference (RevCon). In April, Russia will host the next F5 (nuclear “five”) Conference on implementing the 2010 NPT RevCon Final Document.
It is regrettable that, despite the 2010 RevCon decision, the Conference on establishing a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and all other Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Means of Delivery was not convened in 2012. Russia was one of the co-authors of the 1995 NPT RevCon Resolution on the Middle East. Since then we have been consistently seeking to ensure its implementation. In line with our commitments in this sphere, we intend to continue our close cooperation with the conference’s other co-organizers to make it happen.
The Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in March will be another important event on the multilateral disarmament agenda. We hope that the Conference, chaired by our Australian colleagues, will have a positive outcome.
The most serious challenge in 2013 could be the ongoing stalemate of the disarmament process in the UN and, chiefly, at the Conference on Disarmament (CD). Existing disarmament mechanisms in the United Nations are hampered by the political realities and conflicting priorities of the states concerned, rather than by any perceived faults in these mechanisms. The destruction of the existing frameworks will not solve this problem. We need to work patiently to overcome our differences in order to end this stalemate.
We are convinced that the CD’s authority can only be reestablished through a dialog that aims to address certain member states’ real security concerns, and reach agreement on the Program of Work. This idea, put forward by Russia, would envisage – as an interim measure – an in-depth discussion of the four core issues of the agenda: preventing an arms race in outer space (PAROS), a treaty banning fissile material production for nuclear weapons purposes, negative security assurances and nuclear disarmament.
PAROS remains Russia's priority at the Conference. We believe that the draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space (PPWT) introduced in February 2008, if concluded, could help prevent the militarization of outer space, while also helping to maintain strategic stability and international security.
States committing not to be the first to place weapons in outer space could constitute a major step towards space security. Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) member states threw their weight behind this Russian initiative in 2005. Besides, the Presidents of Russia and Brazil in their Joint Statement of December 14, 2012, "confirmed the commitment of the States to the policy of ‘no first placement’ of weapons in outer space, and encouraged other space-faring nations to follow suit." We hope that other states will heed this appeal.
Russia is open to considering any issue in international security, including nuclear disarmament. Our current priority is implementing the Russia-US Treaty on the Measures for Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START), e.g. establishing the norms, understandings and verification measures provided for in the Treaty.
In his Address to the Russian Federation’s Federal Assembly on 12 December, 2012, President Vladimir Putin stressed that "Russia stands for the principle of agreed and collective efforts in addressing current challenges" and is committed to the goal of a nuclear-free world.
However, we should keep in mind that certain conditions should be met in order to push this process forward. The most crucial involve: maintaining global strategic stability; observing, in both word and deed, the principle of indivisible security; not placing other states’ security at risk through the pursuit of one's own security; giving up any intentions to achieve and ensure dominance of military force. These principles are jeopardized by unconstrained plans for global ballistic missile defense, reluctance to address placement of weapons in outer space, lack of progress on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty’s ratification, and quantitative and qualitative imbalances in conventional weapons. We believe that all states possessing nuclear military potentials should gradually join these ongoing nuclear disarmament efforts.
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