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26 September 2022, 19:09

Belarusian foreign minister sees use of nuclear weapons as genuine threat

MINSK, 26 September (BelTA) – The threat of the use of nuclear weapons is genuine. Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei made the statement at the UN General Assembly's high-level session held in New York to celebrate and popularize the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, BelTA has learned.

Vladimir Makei said: “The unprecedented level of tensions and mistrust entails growing risks of a military confrontation and makes nuclear weapons and the threat of their use nearly as real as over 70 years ago.”

In his words, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is a fundamental document in the sphere of international security and non-proliferation. The resilience of the document is being tested with multiple regional and global challenges.

Vladimir Makei reminded that one month ago the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons could not agree the summary document due to traditional differences of opinion about nuclear disarmament and due to the extreme politicization of nuclear problems as a whole. “Meanwhile, none of the states participating in the conference doubted the importance of the treaty and its key significance as a cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime,” the official remarked.

The Belarusian minister of foreign affairs stated that supporters of the international codification of norms designed to completely prohibit nuclear weapons had initiated the development of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) while bearing in mind a noble goal. “But let's be realistic: has it led to substantial changes in the sphere of nuclear disarmament? A rhetorical question since all the countries that possess nuclear weapons remain outside the framework of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It is naive to believe that things will change in the foreseeable future,” Vladimir Makei said.

The official is convinced that only targeted concerted actions meant to enhance the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the global nuclear non-proliferation regime as a whole can achieve the results the sides strive for. Vladimir Makei called for invigorating the dialogue between the countries that have nuclear weapons in order to make nuclear disarmament multilateral and irreversible in accordance with Article 6 of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

In January 2022 leaders of the nuclear G5 countries passed a joint statement on preventing a nuclear war and an arms race. It is a good foundation for further work in this field and could serve as a reference point for nuclear countries, which have not signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Vladimir Makei believes.

In turn, the coming into effect of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty would contribute to further steps in the sphere of nuclear disarmament. “We call upon the countries, in which hands the fate of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty rests, to accede to the treaty,” the official said.

Vladimir Makei also pointed out that zones, which are free from nuclear weapons, represent an integral component of the global non-proliferation regime. At the same time the resolution passed by the 1995 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to create a zone free from nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East has not been fulfilled. In the mid-1990s Belarus came up with the idea of creating such a zone in Central and Eastern Europe. Belarus' appeal was heard back then but, regretfully, not by everyone.

“The realization of the tasks that have been set and the achievement of the end goal – to free the world from nuclear weapons – are impossible without restoring trust and without returning to an equal and mutually respectful dialogue, in which nuclear and nuclear-free countries will participate. It is necessary to work out effective, transparent, and universal security guarantees. The Belarus president mentioned it in a letter sent to the UN secretary general in May 2022. Belarus is ready for further interaction with all countries and international organizations for the sake of achieving goals of nuclear disarmament in the name of universal peace, stability, and security,” Vladimir Makei concluded.

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