Efforts should be global
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Austria, the Permanent Representative of Belarus in Vienna, Valery Voronetsky, has led a delegation to the forum on the Experience of Possible Relevance to the Creation of Nuclear Weapon Free Zones.
Belarus is eager to support global efforts to create nuclear weapon free zones — in particular, in the Middle East. The country believes that a stage-by-stage approach is needed, to account for the interests of all parties and the development of the situation in the region. The Belarusian delegation drew attention to the complementarity of peaceful settlement processes and the creation of a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East. Both processes could be carried out simultaneously.
Belarus’ stance is based on the gradual reduction of the role of nuclear weapons as a guarantee of national security. In the early 1990s, the country rejected the possession of nuclear weapons, making a great contribution to national, regional and international security. Where countries have kept their nuclear weapons, it’s a priority for them to follow legal obligations to ensure the security of non-nuclear states. This approach could be applied in the Middle East, making it possible to expand a nuclear free zone there.
The forum, chaired by Norway, included members of the IAEA Directorate, representatives of diplomatic missions and foreign ministries of IAEA member states, and corresponding departments of foreign ministries. Reports were presented by representatives of nuclear weapon free zones in Latin America, Africa, South East Asia, the Pacific Region and Central Asia. They were joined by the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC) and by the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). Experience was shared regarding the creation of such zones and the negotiation process. Representatives of Middle Eastern countries and other states took part in an open discussion.