(spb.ru) - Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, in an apparent swipe at the United States, said Friday that international efforts to rein in the spread of weapons of mass destruction are being impeded by politics.
In recent years we have been witness to how the approach of certain countries solving the problem of fighting the spread of WMDs has taken on a more political character, Ivanov said at a news conference, reports Trend.
A distinct chilling is taking place, Ivanov said, citing issues including the deployment of weapons in space and biological weapons.
Russia has frequently criticized the United States over its possible use of space weapons and has said Washington is scuttling efforts to strengthen the international biological weapons treaty.
Ivanov did not mention the United States by name, but his comments came in connection with the release of a government report that also appeared to criticize Washington on nonproliferation issues.
The report, issued to coincide with the Group of Eight summit in St. Petersburg in mid-July, says obvious trends are emerging toward weakening the guarantees of state sovereignty and intervention, including intervention by force into the internal affairs of other countries, sometimes under the pretext of resolving the problems of nonproliferation.
Russia, in turn, has been criticized as undermining nonproliferation through its nuclear cooperation with Iran, where it is building a nuclear power plant. Critics have said the power plant could aid Iran in developing nuclear weapons.
But Ivanov reiterated Russias frequent rejection of those criticisms.
The nonproliferation report and Ivanovs comments come in the wake of President Vladimir Putins call this week for the United States to open talks with Russia on a weapons treaty to replace the key START agreement, which expires in 2009.
Washington and Moscow have not shown much interest in a follow-up treaty, and Putins call was seen as an attempt to take the initiative. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak told the news conference that initial contacts on a new treaty have begun through diplomatic channels.