Sun, 25 September 2022
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UN nuclear weapons talks fail over Russian objection

Update : 27 Aug 2022, 12:04

The latest nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference ended in failure on Friday after Russia blocked agreement on the final document.

After almost a month of discussions at the United Nations in New York, the conference closed without adopting its final document, as Russia considered it too "politicized."

The document referred to the trouble at Europe's biggest nuclear plant at Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine but without naming Russia.

Igor Vishnevetsky, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department, insisted many countries, not just Russia, disagreed with "a whole host of issues" in the document.

Argentina was chairing the conference and the difficult negotiations on the draft document. Ambassador Gustavo Zlauvinen said the final draft represented his best efforts "for a progressive outcome" addressing divergent views at a moment in history where "our world is increasingly wracked by conflicts, and, most alarmingly, the ever-growing prospect of the unthinkable nuclear war." 

After Vishnevetsky had spoken, Zlauvinen told delegate, "I see that at this point, the conference is not in a position to achieve agreement on its substantive work."

Decisions at the review conferences, held every five years, are made by consensus, they need the approval of all 191 countries that are parties to the treaty aimed at curbing the spread of nuclear weapons.

The four references to Zaporizhzhia would have had the parties to the treaty express "grave concern for the military activities" at or near the facility and other nuclear plants, recognize Ukraine's loss of control of the area and the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) inability to ensure its nuclear material is safeguarded.

The parties would also have supported IAEA efforts to visit Zaporizhzhia to ensure there was no diversion of its nuclear materials. It would have also expressed "grave concern" at the safety of Ukraine's nuclear facilities, particularly Zaporizhzia, stressing "the paramount importance of ensuring control by Ukraine's competent authorities."

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons slammed the treaty countries saying they failed to "adopt a credible plan to advance disarmament, help victims of nuclear use and testing and condemn all nuclear threats."

This marked the second failure of its state parties to produce an outcome document.

The last review conference in 2015 ended without an agreement over differences over establishing a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction.

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