(Photo credit: Al-Manar)
In a live speech addressing the UN Human Rights Council on 1 March, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in West Asia and North Africa.
Lavrov stated that it was vital to create “a zone in [West Asia] and North Africa free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, as stipulated in the Security Council resolution, and after the two sessions of the conference, in accordance with the decision made in 2018 by the UN General Assembly in which Russia participated.”
“We hope that Israel will join this process, and also the US, co-author of the resolution,” Lavrov said.
“We also would like to enhance the convention on the prohibition of toxicological and toxic weapons,” he added.
Israel has been implicated in the use of internationally banned chemical weapons, such as the use of white phosphorus during its previous wars on Gaza.
Tel Aviv is also in possession of at least 90 nuclear warheads, and has the fissile material required to build up to 200.
Tensions between Moscow and Tel Aviv have heightened due to Israel’s recent stance on the Kremlin’s special military operation in Ukraine.
On 25 February, Russia summoned the Israeli ambassador to Moscow, Alexander Ben Zvi, in order to discuss his country’s position on Ukraine.
According to reports, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov asked Ben Zvi why Israel was supporting the “Nazis” in Ukraine.
The day before, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid described the Russian operation as “a grave violation of the international order.”
In the speech to the UN Human Rights Council, Lavrov also called for Europe’s disarmament of US-manufactured nuclear weapons.
“It is unacceptable for us that, contrary to the fundamental principles of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, US nuclear weapons are still present on the territory of some European countries … It is high time the US nuclear weapons return home, and the infrastructure in Europe related to them be completely dismantled,” he stated.