Efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, above all nuclear weapons, are prominent on Russia's foreign political agenda, reads the statement the Russian Foreign Ministry issued to mark the anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Japan's Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9.
The ministry emphasised that Russia was a strong advocate of the consolidation of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) that is a cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime and the basis for further efforts in the sphere of disarmament.
Russia is making preparations for the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT that is held once in five years.
Russia believes the conference should focus on the observance of the parties' obligations under the NPT and work out coordinated measures to ensure the observance without infringing on various groups' and certain countries' interests.
The Foreign Ministry recalled that Russia was the initiator of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 designed to prevent weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and proliferation-sensitive materials from being obtained by non-government organisations, above all, terrorist ones.
In May 2004, Russia joined the group of countries that initiated the Non-proliferation Security Initiative that deals with the black markets trading in WMD.
Russia is determined to contribute to the initiative in line with international law, national legislation, and the communion of interests with the other partners, reads the ministry's statement.
The ministry emphasised that Russia strictly observed the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources approved at the 47th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Russia promotes in every possible way the activities of the IAEA as it is a key mechanism to ensure the NPT, according to the Foreign Ministry. Among other things, Russia promotes the IAEA's control activities, including as part of a national programme for ensuring the IAEA's guarantees.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei was visiting Moscow in late June - early July 2004. He praised Russia's activities in the non-proliferation sphere, according to the statement.
"Today it is important to find a comprehensive approach to an entire range of issues related to nuclear non-proliferation. It requires meticulous political and diplomatic efforts," said the Russian Foreign Ministry.
"Attempts to settle /non-proliferation/ problems by military means are too dangerous," emphasised the ministry.
The ministry pointed to unfavourable trends that had appeared in the non-proliferation sphere of late.
"North Korea, for example, announced the withdrawal from the NPT, while India, Pakistan, and Izrael that have not joined the treaty are still unwilling to join it as nuclear-free states," noted the ministry.
Besides, the ministry pointed to the attempts of non-government organisations, including international terrorist organisations, to get access to WMD, still existing stimuli for acquiring and spreading WMD caused by ongoing regional crises, weak or even non-existent national export control arrangements.
The Foreign Ministry emphasised that the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) still had poor chances of coming into force.
"This is, above all, due to the fact that the United States is not interested in the treaty," said the ministry.
By declining to take part in a conference designed to facilitate the CTBT's ratification, by voting against the UN General Assembly's decision to support the treaty, and by adopting a decision to start research in the sphere of low yield nuclear weapons the US does not encourage other countries to join the treaty.
However, the international community has achieved a series of positive results in the sphere, emphasised the ministry.
"The North Korea nuclear crisis can still be settled by politico-diplomatic means," noted the ministry.
Libya's decision to halt its WMD programme and take specific steps to eradicate available achievements in this sphere were a major breakthrough, according to the ministry.
"By signing the additional protocol to the agreement on non-proliferation guarantees between Iran and the IAEA and allowing IAEA experts to examine its nuclear facilities Iran addressed the international community's concerns. However, a lot is yet to be done to settle the situation surrounding Iran's nuclear programme," said the Russian foreign ministry.