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Russia disappointed with UN committee’s vote on draft INF resolution — foreign ministry

Moscow is profoundly disappointed with the results of voting at the UN First Committee that refused to consider Russia’s draft resolution in support of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

"We are profoundly disappointed with the results of voting at the UN General Assembly’s First Committee on the issue of putting Russia’s draft resolution in support of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty on its agenda. We are baffled over the fact that the work on a document, the relevance of which leaves no doubts, has been blocked under an invented procedural pretext," the foreign ministry said.

The ministry noted that 55 nations had spoken against the very idea of discussing the issue of maintaining the treaty’s viability at the UN First Committee. Some of these states, according to the ministry, keep lamenting over the "the lack of progress in the sphere of nuclear disarmament."

"It is strange to see that this list includes states that regularly lament from international platforms over the lack of progress in the sphere of nuclear disarmament and insist on abiding by international treaties. But in this case, they have opted not to see that the INF Treaty is directly jeopardized by Washington’s shortsighted and destructive actions and that such developments may have an adverse effect on the IBM Treaty," the ministry said.

The ministry expressed regret that some states had chosen to abstain or dodge discussion of the treaty and stressed that this treaty is vital for maintaining international stability.

"The treaty signed by Moscow and Washington is vital for maintaining international security and global strategic stability, for normal functioning of non-proliferation regimes. It concerns not only the signatories to the INF Treaty but also each and every member of the international community. The breakdown of a disarmament treaty cannot enhance collective security," the ministry stressed.

The Russian Foreign Ministry thanked all those who had demonstrated an independent position and a responsible approach to issues of strengthening arms control mechanisms and expressed hope for further constructive cooperation with these nations. "We are convinced that it is not too late for the states which found themselves not ready to take concrete steps in favor of keeping the INF Treaty in place, to revise their approaches and join these efforts," the ministry added.

Situation around INF Treaty

The INF, or the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, Treaty was signed between the former Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987 and entered into force on June 1, 1988. In 1992, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the treaty was multilateralized with the former Soviet republics - Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine - as successors. The INF Treaty covered deployed and non-deployed ground-based short-range missiles (from 500 to 1,000 kilometers) and intermediate-range missiles (from 1,000 to 5,500 kilometers).

The US accused Russia of violating the treaty for the first time in July 2014. Since then, Washington has been repeating its claims on many occasions, while Moscow has been rejecting them and advancing counter-claims concerning the implementation of the treaty by the US side.

US President Donald Trump said on October 20 that Washington would withdraw from the INF Treaty because Russia was violating the terms of the agreement. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov described this decision as a dangerous step. Washington’s decision came under criticism from Berlin and Beijing. However, London expressed support to the US stance and NATO placed responsibility for Trump’s decision on Russia which, it claims, may violate the treaty.

Last week, the Russian side officially circulated within the UN secretariat a draft resolution in support of the INF Treaty. The text was also referred to the chairperson of the UN First Committee. On Friday, the Committee refused by a majority vote to consider the document.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 29Oct18]

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