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Press Statement on the 2012 Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction

2210-24-11-2012

The decisions of the 2010 NPT Review Conference entrusted Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, as the depositaries of the Treaty and the co-sponsors of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East, as well as the UN Secretary-General to convene in 2012 a Conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery (MEWMDFZ).

Since 2010 the "co-conveners" of the Conference have been making significant efforts for the preparation of the event. Finland was selected as the "host country" of the Conference. The Facilitator responsible for the preparation and organization of the Conference – Under Secretary of the MFA of Finland J.Laajava – was appointed and has started active work since taking office in October 2011. The “co-conveners” and the Facilitator held numerous joint and individual consultations with representatives of the States of the region. Considerations on organizational modalities and substance of upcoming Conference are at an advanced stage.

Unfortunately, not all of the States in the Middle East have so far agreed to participate in the Conference. In this regard, there are voices in favor of postponing the Conference for 2013.

The Russian Federation, being strictly committed to its commitments and the "conveners'" mandate, believes that in the given conditions a decision to postpone the Conference can be justified only if there is a clearly expressed consent of the countries of the Middle East and the dates for the Conference are fixed.

Moscow presumes that in case of the expressed consent of the regional States to the postponement of the Conference, the new dates should be fixed right now in order to convene the Conference at the earliest possibility, but no later than April next year. We are convinced that these several extra months would be enough for proper preparation and success of the Helsinki Conference on the establishment of MEWMDFZ.

Russia intends to make all the necessary efforts to this end and to continue to work closely with the other "co-conveners" and the Facilitator.