Russia doubtful of U.S. CANWFZ protocol ratification - Deputy Foreign Minister

Moscow is not sure the U.S. will ratify the protocol to the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia (CANWFZ), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

Moscow is not sure the U.S. will ratify the protocol to the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia (CANWFZ), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

"We are not sure about the United States, and we are openly expressing our doubts," he said at the State Duma on Friday, while presenting an instrument of the protocol ratification.

The fact that security and nuclear non-proliferation documents pass through the U.S. Congress with great difficulty is a big concern of Moscow, he said.

"However, the U.S. administration and its members have declared their determination to ratify the protocol in [our] contacts," the diplomat said.

As to other countries possessing nuclear armaments, Ryabkov doubts they may wish to join the protocol.

"To be frank, I very much doubt that any of them can join this document in the foreseeable future. At least because these countries are not parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and some of them are seeking a formal status of official powers," he said.

The State Duma was considering ratification of the protocol to the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia (CANWFZ) on Friday.

"The protocol demands not to use and not to threaten with use of nuclear weapons against parties to this treaty, the Republics of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan," State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin told reporters on Thursday.

The protocol was signed by five nuclear states - Russia, China, the United States, France and the United Kingdom, the speaker said.

"The purpose of signing and ratifying this protocol is to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime, global security and regional stability," Naryshkin said.

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