MOSCOW, April 28 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian government believes the global community should work hard to preserve and consolidate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to counter attempts to weaken and to reconsider it, Alexander Yakovenko, official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, says in a statement in connection with the third meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 NPT Review Conference. The meeting, commonly referred to as the PC.III, is currently underway in New York City.

The PC. III meeting is crucial to the preparation for the 2005 NPT Review Conference as the conference's results will in no small measure depend on the outcome and ambience of the PC. III, Yakovenko said.

According to him, the Russian delegation has pointed out that the PC. III's main task is the preparation of recommendations for next year's review conference. It is important that these recommendations be aimed at achieving objectives set in the NPT, serving the purposes of peace, security, progress and cooperation, said the Foreign Ministry spokesman.

Russia advocates a balanced approach to the work of the Preparatory Committee and a comprehensive and unbiased review of compliance with the NPT, Yakovenko said. "Nuclear proliferation is one of the serious challenges to international security and stability," he said. According to him, the nuclear non-proliferation regime is now endangered by the emergence of black markets trading in materials and equipment suitable for the creation of weapons of mass destruction and also by the possibility of these weapons falling into the hands of terrorists.

The Russian delegation will make every effort to ensure meaningful cooperation between the participants in the PC. III meeting so that they could find a common response to the existing challenges to the NPT as well as the non-proliferation regime at large.

The third session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 NPT Review Conference has been running since April 26. It has brought together representatives of over a hundred countries, seven intergovernmental and 69 non-governmental organizations.

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