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United States, UK violate their international commitments to Belarus

MINSK, 24 April (BelTA) - The United States and the United Kingdom violate their international commitments to Belarus, reads Belarus’ statement at the second session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), BelTA learnt from the press service of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry.

The tripartite security assurances provided in accordance with the 1994 Budapest memorandum in connection with Belarus’s voluntary renunciation of its status as a nuclear power are very important for Belarus, the statement reads. “Three states, namely the United Kingdom, Russia and the United States pledged to respect the independence and sovereignty of Belarus and to refrain from economic coercion,” the statement says.

In addition, the plan of action for nuclear disarmament approved by the 2010 NPT Review Conference spells out that the nuclear states undertake to fully respect their commitments regarding security assurances to non-nuclear states.

“There is a reasonable question as to why, despite the formalized and repeatedly reaffirmed commitments, some nuclear powers ignore them in practice, while continuing to apply economic and political pressure. Measures of economic coercion in the form of sanctions taken by the United Kingdom and the United States against Belarus should be abolished. Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances was registered at the United Nations as an international agreement. Violation of legal obligations is unacceptable from the point of view of international law,” the statement stressed.

The second session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is held in Geneva from 22 April to 3 May 2013. Attending the session is the Belarusian delegation headed by Permanent Representative of the Republic of Belarus to the UN Office and other international organizations in Geneva Mikhail Khvostov.

The event is to assess the fulfillment of the NPT provisions and develop recommendations on substantive and procedural issues regarding the preparations for the 2015 Review Conference. The participants also plan to take a look into the fulfillment of the action plan on nuclear disarmament approved by the 2010 Review Conference. The plan was developed with Belarus’ active participation.

Speaking at the session, the Belarusian delegation noted that Belarus views the Treaty as a fundamental binding international instrument, a foundation for international security. The Belarusian delegation spoke in favor of further strengthening of the document and balanced fulfillment of its provisions.

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is an important element of the international law. The NPT main objectives are to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The treaty took effect in 1970. Belarus ratified it in 1993.

The treaty is reviewed every five years in meetings called Review Conferences. The signing parties decided to extend the treaty indefinitely and without conditions during the 1995 Review Conference in. A number of recommendations were adopted at the 2010 Review Conference to implement the NPT main goals.

Belarus takes an active part in sessions of the NPT preparatory committees and review conferences. Being one of the first nations to voluntarily and unconditionally renounce nuclear weapons in the mid-1990s, Belarus speaks in favor of reducing the role of nuclear weapons in defense doctrines of nuclear powers. It calls for gradually reduction of nuclear arsenals, and urges nuclear powers to provide legally binding security assurances to non-nuclear states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.