STATEMENT delivered by H.E.Mr.Ilya Rogachev, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Republic of South Africa and the Kingdom of Lesotho, at the 5th Conference of the State Parties to the Pelindaba Treaty (Midrand / Johannesburg, 21-22 October 2021)
Distinguished delegates, colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to greet all the participants of the 5th Conference of the States Parties to the Pelindaba Treaty. I am grateful to the organizers for the invitation to this important forum.
Russia as one of the initiators and depositories of the NPT supports the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones provided for in the Article VII of the Treaty. We highly appreciate the decision of the African States to establish such a zone in the region.
During 25 years of the Pelindaba Treaty existence it has become an essential element of the system of agreements that form similar zones in other regions of the planet: in Latin America and the Caribbean – the Treaty of Tlatelolco, in the South Pacific – the Treaty of Rarotonga, in Southeast
Asia – the Bangkok Treaty, in Central Asia – the Semipalatinsk Treaty, as well as in Mongolia, which has officially declared itself a nuclear-weapon-free State.
The Pelindaba Treaty is a good evidence of the African States’ commitment to achieving the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, as well as strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and their readiness to significantly contribute to strategic stability and international security.
The establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones is an important factor of ensuring international peace. Within this framework, nuclear states provide security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon countries against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. Russia has signed protocols to the existing nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties, thus providing appropriate assurances to more than a hundred Member States of the relevant international agreements.
The Russian Federation signed the Protocols I and II to the Treaty on the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Africa. The reservations made by our country when signing these Protocols are of purely clarifying nature and in no way affect the interests of those states that respect «the letter and spirit» of the Treaty.
Nowadays four nuclear weapon states provide security assurances to the States Parties of the Pelindaba Treaty. To accomplish the development of the security environment of the region the ratification of the relevant Protocols to the Treaty by the United States is required.
We call on Washington to demonstrate its commitment to the goals of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and address this important issue without delay.
Speaking of nuclear-weapon-free zones in general, it is worth mentioning the efforts of the Middle East countries aimed at the establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction, as provided for by the resolution of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference.
Russia is an active proponent of the creation of this zone. Our country took part in the first Conference on it’s establishment, held in November 2019 in New York City as an observer, actively contributed to its convening and successful holding. This event became the first practical step in many years’ efforts towards the creation of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East.
We intend to participate in the second Conference on establishing the Zone which is going to take place from 29 November to 3 December 2021.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The 10th NPT Review Conference, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is scheduled for the beginning of the next year. In the current situation when we face global challenges in the area of arms control and non-proliferation, the States Parties to the NPT need to consolidate their efforts to ensure its stability. In particular, it is important to avoid focusing on disagreements and to hold the Review Conference in the most conflict-free manner, so that it will help to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime and reaffirm all the obligations and rights of countries in accordance with the Treaty.
Thank you for your attention.