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Russia blocking nuclear progress: Wong

The Australian government has expressed its disappointment at Russia for blocking progress at a major nuclear non-proliferation conference.

Russia blocked a consensus outcome on the final document at the tenth Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons following a four-week review of the cornerstone disarmament treaty.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong chastised Russia for “deliberately obstructing progress”.

“The Australian government is deeply disappointed the (conference) did not reach a consensus outcome, despite the urgency of the international security environment,” the foreign minister said in a statement.

“All state parties except Russia were ready to agree to a meaningful and balanced outcome across the treaty’s three pillars: disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

“Russia has deliberately obstructed progress. Its actions directly challenge core tenets of the NPT.”

At the United Nations on Friday, Russia said “unfortunately there is no consensus” on the final document.

The document had criticised Russia’s military takeover of Europe’s largest nuclear plant soon after Russian troops invaded Ukraine, an act that has raised fears of a nuclear disaster.

Senator Wong says Australia remains deeply committed to non-proliferation and a world free of nuclear weapons despite not reaching a consensus on the final document.

“At the heart of the NPT is the goal of a world without nuclear weapons, a goal to which Australia remains deeply committed,” she said.

“Irrespective of this outcome, the treaty continues to deliver tangible security benefits to us all.

“We must redouble our efforts to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.”

Senator Wong again called for Russia to cease its war in Ukraine and immediately withdraw its forces.

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