Security Council: Mideast Should be Nuke-Free Zone



By: DAN VERBIN  
Published: May 5th 2010
in News » World

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Israel would have to get rid of any nuclear weapons in its arsenal if the permanent members of the UN Security Council goes through with a plan for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, an idea floated on Wednesday.

 

The United States, Great Britain, France, Russia and China voiced their support for ridding the region of atomic weaponry by fully implementing the 1995 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT) resolution on the Middle East.

 

“We support all ongoing efforts to this end,” the five permanent members stated at a conference that is examining the 1970 NNPT.

 

The 1995 resolution, which was agreed upon by the parties who are part of the NNPT, stated that the Middle East should be a nuclear arms-free zone.

 

Israel, which is generally thought to have nuclear weapons but has never said no, is the only country in the Middle East that is not a signatory of the NNPT. Along with India and Pakistan, Israel is the only country that has no signed the agreement.

 

However, Iran, which is a party to the treaty, has long been suspected by Western nations of harbouring a clandestine nuclear program, contrary to the non-proliferation agreement’s disclosure requisite.

 

On Wednesday, Egyptian UN Ambassador Maged A. Abdelaziz spoke to delegates, saying: “This conference represents a pivotal turning point in the history of the treaty, and an opportunity that may be the last and that must be seized.”

 

On Tuesday, Arab countries attempted to single out Israel as delegates from almost 200 countries discussed the best ways to curtail nuclear weapons.

 

Israel is currently in talks with the US about what types of measures might potentially be put into place to stop the spread of nukes, a Western government source told Haaretz.

 

If the Middle East becomes nuclear-free, it would become the sixth region to do so. Africa, the South Pacific, Latin America, Central Asia and Southeast Asia (in total 116 countries) have banned nuclear weapons.

 

At a press conference in Moscow, Sergei A. Ryabkov, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, told reporters that in “recent weeks, we have managed to develop a joint approach with the United States.”

 

On Monday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated her wish for a nuclear-free Middle East. She told the UN General Assembly that the Obama Administration was “prepared to support practical measures for achieving that objective."

 

Speaking in New York City at the start of a month-long conference to review the NNPT, Clinton said, "We support efforts to realize the goal of a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free-zone in the Middle East in accordance with the 1995 Middle East resolution. The Middle East may present the greatest threat of nuclear proliferation in the world today."



Related articles: (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, nuclear weapons, weapons program, Iran, security council)


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