Russia slams Italy’s ban on it taking part in Rome non-proliferation event


MOSCOW: Russia on Wednesday slammed a decision by Italy to ban it from a conference on fighting the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Italy withdrew the invitation for the Russian delegation heading to Rome for a meeting of the group of experts on operational issues, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

Zakharova pointed out that Russia was a full-fledged member of the group and that for many years, Moscow had been fighting the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

“We consider Rome’s step as unfriendly. This is another provocative attack against Russia. By suspending our experts from participating in the event, Italy has grossly violated its authority, completely undermined its credibility, signed its unwillingness to conscientiously and impartially perform presidential functions and organize multilateral events,” she asserted.

The spokeswoman also noted that attempts to isolate Russia were unacceptable, destructive, and showed that the US and NATO were hijacking the proliferation security initiative, a global effort to stop the trafficking of weapons of mass destruction.

“For this group of states, that imagine themselves to be the ‘supreme arbiters’ in international affairs, nonproliferation is nothing more than a cover for settling political scores and covering their own aspirations to preserve global dominance,” she said.

Russia distances itself from any understandings and agreements that may reached by the states participating in the Rome event, Zakharova said.

Accusing the West of politicizing the work of the proliferation security initiative, she said this called into question the legitimacy of all activities within its framework.

“At the same time, we emphasize the continued commitment of the Russian Federation to the cause of non-proliferation, its readiness to make a significant contribution to achieving the relevant goals in cooperation with those partners who are really interested in this,” she said.