20:27 GMT25 October 2020
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    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - Moscow calls for a solution to tensions in the Persian Gulf through dialogue and without unfounded accusations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.

    "Tensions in the Persian Gulf are fueled artificially. We call for overcoming existing differences through dialogue, without unfounded accusations. Our contribution is the revised Russian concept of collective security in the region presented this summer," Lavrov said in an address to the UN General Assembly.

    In late July, the Russia Foreign Ministry unveiled, amid heightened US-Iran tensions, an updated version of an initiative called Collective Security Concept for the Persian Gulf Region, which proposed the "renouncement of permanent deployment of troops of extra-regional states" in the region.

    The concept further promotes multilateralism as the core of a new security system in the region. Moscow suggested that a security organization be created that would include Russia, the United States, China, India, the European Union and other interested parties.

    Earlier in September, Lavrov noted that Moscow hopes that the countries of the Middle East will take a closer look at Russia's plan to ensure security in the Gulf region in the wake of a drone attack on critical Saudi oil infrastructure late last week.

    "We feel an interest in our initiative but not yet from all the players involved. I hope that this sad episode will encourage our colleagues to be more attentive to the Russian initiative. We must act systematically and create a comprehensive framework in which it will be easier to negotiate," Lavrov said.

    Russia has been promoting it for several years and held the presentation in July after having updated it, he said.

    "It consists of fairly simple things. All Gulf countries and their partners in the region and beyond should sit down at the negotiating table and start relieving tension through very simple steps — peace and confidence, transparency, inviting each other's armed forces to various events and developing other steps that will help strengthen understanding of what needs to be talked about," Lavrov said.

    On 14 September, a drone attack on Saudi Aramco's oil processing facilities forced the Saudi national oil and gas giant to shut them down, halving the country's oil production. Although responsibility for the attack was claimed by the military wing of Yemen's Ansar Allah movement, the United States and Saudi Arabia have pointed to Iran as the guilty party. Tehran has refuted the accusations.

    Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty

    Lavrov noted that the initial US reaction to the Russian proposal to extend the Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty (START) and join the moratorium on non-deployment of medium and shorter-range missiles was not encouraging.

    "President Putin announced a decision not to deploy medium- and shorter-range ground-based missiles in Europe or other regions, if and while the Americans refrain from doing this. We urged the United States and NATO to join such a moratorium. We have also repeatedly proposed to Washington to begin negotiations on extending the START treaty. Russia and China are in favor of agreeing a legally binding document on the prevention of an arms race in outer space. But the reaction of the United States and its allies has not been encouraging so far", Lavrov said.

    Earlier in the month, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said that it was necessary to act now to extend the New START treaty because it will be too late to do anything after the 2020 US presidential election.

    The New START is the last remaining arms control treaty in force between the world's two largest nuclear-armed powers. It stipulates the reduction of the number of strategic nuclear missiles launchers by half and limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550. The agreement is set to expire in February 2021, and so far the US administration has not announced plans to extend it.

    US President Donald Trump has been vocal about his desire to work out a new tripartite nuclear agreement between Russia, China, and the United States. Beijing has, however, rejected this an idea.

    Arms Control System

    The Russian foreign minister announced that Moscow was submitting to the UN General Assembly a draft resolution on strengthening the arms control system.

    "I would like to announce today that at the current session of the General Assembly we are submitting a draft resolution on strengthening and developing the system of agreements on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. I invite everyone to join constructive talks," Lavrov said.

    According to the foreign minister, "the approval of the resolution would be an important contribution to creating conditions for successful holding of a fresh review conference on the implementation of the NPT next year".

    Last week, Lavrov said that Moscow sees alarming signs of the start of a media campaign in the United States to prepare the ground for abandoning the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which calls into question the future of the document.

    In late May, US Defence Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley said the United States believed that Russia may not be adhering to the nuclear testing moratorium outlined in the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

    According to the foreign minister, the US decisions to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty poses a risk to the global architecture of nuclear arms control.

    Lavrov also called Washington's exit from the Iran nuclear deal and refusal to implement UN Security Council resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian settlement more examples of revisionist DC policies.

    Russian Defence Capability

    Another topic raised by Lavrov was connected with the development of Russia's defence capabilities - an area in which Moscow acts with the utmost responsibility without endangering the nation's national security.

    "Russia will continue to work persistently in order to strengthen universal security. In this area, we are acting with utmost responsibility, exercising restraint in enhancing our defence capability, obviously not at the expense of effectively ensuring our national security and with full compliance with international law", Lavrov said.

    Since 1990, NATO has admitted all former members of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact, and expanded into the Baltic republics of the former Soviet Union. The former Yugoslav Republics of Slovenia, Croatia, and Montenegro, as well as Albania, have also joined. Prior to its enlargement, alliance leaders gave Moscow informal guarantees that it would not expand east of the borders of Germany following the country's reunification.

    Moscow has repeatedly condemned NATO’s military buildup near Russia’s borders, warning that the alliance’s aggressive moves could provoke an escalation into a full-fledged confrontation. NATO has several times throughout its history intervened in other countries without the consent of the UN Security Council.


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    army, START treaty, defense, Persian Gulf, Russia, Sergei Lavrov, United Nations
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