Appropriate international efforts needed for making world safer

Ambassador's view
Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011). Follow him on Twitter @Amb_Yakovenko
Appropriate international efforts needed for making world safer
Elimination of the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, remains one of the key priorities of the international community.

Russia is actively working to that end using any opportunities to strengthen a non-proliferation regime through effective and determined national and international efforts, including limitation and reduction of its nuclear arsenals. It is obvious that further advances towards a nuclear-free world require establishing appropriate international conditions. The most essential is ensuring equal security and strategic stability as provided in the decisions adopted as part of implementing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

In this context, Washington’s approach to the NPT Treaty is causing particular concern. The US and its non-nuclear allies in NATO continue “nuclear sharing” missions, which is in direct violation of Articles I and II of the NPT treaty.

Instead of making propaganda statements on its commitment to further nuclear disarmament, as was the case with the US Department of State’s latest report, it would make more sense for the US to first redeploy American non-strategic nuclear weapons on their territory (as Russia did about a quarter of a century ago), to ban their deployment outside the US, to liquidate the infrastructure that allows for urgent redeployment of American nuclear weapons in Europe, and certainly to halt any military exercises with the military of non-nuclear NATO nations focused on the potential use of nuclear weapons.

It is also alarming that the US plans to deploy new nuclear aerial bombs with limited power, but high precision as part of its unprecedented program to modernize its nuclear arsenal. It is a very dangerous project that can lower the “threshold” of using nuclear weapons when US nuclear bombs in Europe could become “battlefield weapons.”

It is important to remember that Moscow and Washington gave up this option 25 years ago. The US seems keen to restore this irresponsible practice of nuclear brinkmanship. The 2015 NPT Review Conference saw the US along with the UK and Canada block the concluding document of the conference, thus demonstrating that strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime was not their priority.

It is worth mentioning that Russia is not only focusing its attention on the need to join the efforts of all states with a view to eliminating the factors that undermine stability, but also undertaking practical steps at an international level in this direction.

In our view, the intensified buildup of non-proliferation efforts should also be guided by the threat of WMD falling into the hands of terrorists. The use of chemical weapons by terrorist organizations in the Middle East and North Africa is becoming more and more large-scale, systemic and cross-border, and threatens to escalate far beyond the region. Aware of this threat, Russia with the contribution of China and Italy is trying to launch negotiations on the new International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Chemical and Biological Terrorism at the Conference on Disarmament (CD). The Russian initiative is aimed exclusively at giving an adequate response to the growing challenges of terrorism and, at the same time, helping overcome stagnation at the CD, something that is in everyone’s interests.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.