“Despite all the contradictions between Russia and the United Kingdom, it is very important for both countries to maintain dialogue and continue cooperation because their interests coincide,” said Tom McKane, Distinguished Fellow, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and Senior Network Member, European Leadership Network (ELN), during the Valdai Club’s expert discussion, which took place on March 5 and was devoted to the problem of nuclear weapons proliferation.
The main subject of discussion was the recent ELN report, titled “Can Moscow and London find a way forward on the NPT?” Russian and British experts answered positively to this difficult question. According to Shatabhisha Shetty, Deputy Director, European Leadership Network, these actors play a crucial role in maintaining the non-proliferation regime and are equally interested in expanding it. Among the obstacles the experts named the growing distrust of multilateral formats and the crisis of non-proliferation and disarmament treaties – the JCPOA, INF and New START treaties. That is why a large place in the report is given to recommendations how to overcome such a crisis.
Dmitry Stefanovich, co-founder of the Vatfor project, research fellow at the IMEMO RAS Centre for International Security, said that “even without any concrete result, the dialogue itself has a positive effect, as the parties begin to better understand each other’s fears.” Moreover, a positive example of dialogue can be found in the past: Tom McKane spoke in favor of returning to the “classical” arms control era, which took shape at the end of the Cold War and for a long time ensured the world security.
In addition, the experts discussed the issue of America’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and noted that the European states, including the United Kingdom, do not consider Iran a completely isolated country and continue an active dialogue with it. Since today the traditional five members of the “nuclear club” are replenished with new countries, transparency is needed on these issues, which will allow players to negotiate better. In particular, this could improve relations between the United States and China, whose nuclear program causes concern in Washington.