Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Middle East cannot be nuclear-arms-free zone without peace

From AP, 22 Nov 2011, by

VIENNA (AP) — In a boost to Israel, Russia joined the U.S. and Britain on Tuesday in backing the Jewish state's view that the Middle East cannot be turned into a nuclear arms-free zone without progress on regional peace.
The three nations — who are charged with registering new members to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty — also blunted Arab efforts to get them involved creating such a zone, telling an International Atomic Energy Agency meeting that was the sole responsibility of countries in the region.
The three-nation statement was made at ... a meeting bringing Israel and the Arab states together for a discussion of how to work toward establishing a Mideast nuclear-arms free zone....
Organizers had warned against high expectations, and an official inside the closed two-day meeting said it ended Friday without bridging the differences.
Still the three-nation statement was significant. Russia is traditionally in the Arab corner and Moscow's decision to join Washington and London in the joint statement of support for Israel's view was a rare nod from Moscow recognizing Israel's security concerns.
"While Nuclear Weapon-Free zones improve the security of the entire international community, they do not exist in isolation from other security factors," said the statement to the closed meeting, which was shared with The Associated Press. Any such zone, it said must see "the states in the region united in their aspiration to provide for strengthened regional stability and security."
That dovetails with Israel's view that peace must prevail in the Middle East before it can be made into a nuclear free zone. But it clashes with the Arab position that the two issues are separate.
...Iran boycotted the meeting. But a decision last year by the 189 members of the Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty to convene a U.N.-sponsored conference on establishing a Middle East nuclear-free zone in 2012 was an incentive for Israel's Arab neighbors to come to the exploratory Vienna talks....
The three-nation statement .. said "zones free of nuclear weapons cannot be created counter to the will of the countries of the region by the efforts of extra-regional powers or international organizations." That was an rebuttal of an Arab push to get powers that are members of the Nonproliferation Treaty involved in creating a Mideast nuclear-free region...
Israel, for its part, restated its view: no discussions on a nuclear-free zone without peace in the Middle East.
"Experience shows that such a process can only be launched when normal, peaceful relations exist in the region, when the threat perception of all regional members is low, and only after basic confidence is established among states of the region," David Danieli, Israel's deputy nuclear chief, said in comments provided to the AP....
Post a Comment