MINSK, 4 August (BelTA) – All speculations regarding a change in Belarus' non-nuclear status are groundless, Vasily Pavlov, Head of the Division of International Security of the Directorate General for Multilateral Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, said at the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in New York, BelTA informs.
The diplomat recalled that almost 30 years ago Belarus, guided by a sense of deep responsibility, made a conscious choice in favor of giving up nuclear weapons without any conditions and reservations and acceded to the NPT as a non-nuclear state. “Belarus' contribution to nuclear disarmament is obvious and undeniable, which has been repeatedly recognized by numerous bilateral and multilateral documents. All insinuations about the change of the non-nuclear status of Belarus, as well as non-compliance with commitments under the NPT, are groundless,” the diplomat emphasized.
According to him, the NPT is one of the pillars of non-proliferation and also the entire international security system: “The Treaty set in motion large-scale processes to reduce the nuclear arsenals in the USSR and the United States of America and to encourage four countries, including Belarus, to voluntarily give up nuclear weapons, which minimized a nuclear threat and the risks of a possible nuclear confrontation.”
“The hope that the new system of international relations in the post-Cold War era would be based on mutual respect and cooperation, rather than competition, led to a false sense of complacency. Peace and security began to be taken for granted, while disarmament and non-proliferation issues were placed on the back burner as irrelevant. Unfortunately, in the 21st century the world did not become more stable and predictable. Trust is being replaced by confrontation, dialogue by denunciation. A new arms race is gaining momentum,” the diplomat said.
In his opinion, the unprecedented escalation of interstate contradictions, disregard for the principle of indivisibility of security and each other's concerns led to the armed conflict in Europe. “All this is happening against the background of the ongoing erosion of international treaties in the field of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, which are the connective tissue in the international and European security architecture. The nuclear disarmament momentum has been lost. The NPT is being put to the test by numerous challenges of a regional and global nature,” the diplomat continued. In his speech, he cited just some of the challenges to the global nuclear non-proliferation system: the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2019, the lack of progress to enforce the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the emergence of instruments that attempt to duplicate the NPT.
“The crisis of mutual trust deepens polarization and confrontation and inevitably entails greater risks, including in the nuclear sphere. Nuclear weapons are no longer considered solely as a political deterrent that should never be used. In the early 1980s, a possibility of a real nuclear threat started looming in the world. Invented by American physicists, the Doomsday Clock is set less than two minutes to midnight, symbolizing the moment of a nuclear catastrophe. It has never been that close to midnight in its entire history,” the diplomat noted.
Vasily Pavlov emphasized that against this background, the extension in February 2021 of the Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms and the adoption in January 2022 of the Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear-Weapon States on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races are demonstrating the responsible approach of the nuclear powers, which deserves unconditional support.