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    Russia-US Plutonium Treaty Halt to Have No Adverse Effect on Nuke Disarmament

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    The suspension of a treaty between Russia and the United States regarding the disposal of weapons-grade plutonium will have no negative impact on the nuclear disarmament process, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control said Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Monday, the Russian government said the president had ordered to halt a bilateral Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA) with the United States because of Washington's hostile actions.

    "We are being asked whether the decision we made will have any negative consequences for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. I can tell you that it will not," Mikhail Ulyanov said at the First Committee of the UN General Assembly in New York, as quoted by the Russian Foreign Ministry on its website.

    He stressed that Russia would not use the plutonium for military purposes, as a moratorium on producing weapons-grade plutonium had been in place in the country for the past quarter of a century. He also stressed that Russia suspended, not terminated the agreement.

    "We are ready to return to it as soon as the US deals with circumstances that have led to its suspension. Specific conditions for its resumption will be defined by Russia's Federal Assembly," Ulyanov said.

    According to Ulyanov, Washington did not officially inform Moscow about its plans to change the method of disposing plutonium under a 2000 pact.

    "Under the agreement, the disposal method can only be changed with the parties’ consent. Russia did not receive any official US request through diplomatic channels," Mikhail Ulyanov, the director of the ministry’s arms non-proliferation and control department, told the UN General Assembly in New York.

    He said that the disposal method was stipulated in the agreement and the 2010 protocol appendix, but the United States went for a potentially reversible method, which includes burying diluted plutonium in salt mines.

    According to the draft law on the State Duma website, the agreement may be resumed after the United States reduces its troops and military infrastructure in NATO member states that joined the alliance after September 1, 2000, to the levels they were at the time the original agreement first entered into force.

    Other provisions include the annulment of the Magnitsky Act and sanctions introduced by the United States over Russia’s alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis, as well as compensation of the losses Russia suffered due to the sanctions.


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