MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The indecisiveness of creating a zone that is free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East will remain a serious concern in international relations until 2020, Director of the Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms control at the Russian Foreign Ministry Mikhail Ulyanov said Monday.
“It’s difficult to say, but in any case the current mandate on the [Weapons of Mass Destruction] Zone has expired and a new one, it seems, may be confirmed only during the next Survey Conference in 2020. That means that over the next five years this issue will remain a serious concern in international relations,” Ulyanov told RIA Novosti in an interview.
In April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia believed it was a mistake that a conference on creating a WMD-free zone in the Middle East had not taken place.
Russia is working with the Arab League, Israel and Iran in a bid to ensure a comprehensive dialogue with countries outside the region on the issue, Lavrov said.
According to the top Russian diplomat, discussions on the creation of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East might take more than a year.
In 1990, Egypt proposed the creation of WMD-free zone in the Middle East. The Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference called for the establishment of such a zone in the region in 1995.