Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Russia Ratifies African Nuke-Free Zone Pact

Monday, March 14, 2011

Russia's State Duma on Friday endorsed a 1996 treaty prohibiting the presence, assembly, acquisition and use of nuclear weapons on the African continent, ITAR-Tass reported (see GSN, March 14).
The African Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, also known as the Pelindaba Treaty, officially took effect in August 2009. Signatories are banned from launching nuclear strikes against African states and from carrying out or supporting nuclear testing on the continent.
"The importance of the document to us stems from the fact we are strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime, and reaffirm our commitment to the obligations which Russia assumed when it signed the [Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty]. Also, we contribute to strengthening the nonproliferation regime in the world," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told lawmakers on Friday. "Multilateral nonproliferation mechanisms acquire new dimensions."
"Russia signed the treaty with a number of reservations," Ryabkov said. "They stipulate that we do not assume the obligation not to use nuclear weapons against states that are part of the zone free from nuclear weapons in Africa in situations where they have allied commitments to other nuclear states and may participate in military actions using nuclear weapons against Russia, or are members of the corresponding coalitions."
"In signing this treaty the reservation was made it does not apply to the U.S. base of Diego Garcia (an island of the Chagos Archipelago, the Indian Ocean)," he said. "This is an important reservation, which allows us to fully maintain our own security in hypothetical situations of the emergence [of] crises or conflicts in which the potential use of nuclear weapons is possible" (ITAR-Tass, March 12).

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