NPT draft calls for 2012 meeting on Middle East nuke-free zone

11:09, May 22, 2010      

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A draft agreement circulated on Friday at the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) calls on all Middle East states to meet at a United Nations summit in 2012 to make progress toward a region free from nuclear bombs and weapons of mass destruction.

UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon is to convene the 2012 high- level meeting and appoint a special coordinator to take a lead role and conduct consultations with the Middle East states, said the document, drafted by a subsidiary committee of the ongoing NPT Review Conference, which ends on May 28.

The last NPT Review Conference in 2005 was largely considered a failure when state parties failed to reach an agreement on a number of issues, including concrete steps that could be taken to implement the 1995 Middle East Resolution, which calls for a nuke- free region.

With one week to go before the month-long Review Conference ends, and a final consensus document being expected, there is a certain level of nervousness in the halls here as to whether an agreement on the implementation of the Middle East resolution will be reached in time.

Egypt, which leads the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), has been pressing for a 2012 meeting, while the United States has proposed a conference in 2012-2013 to discuss the resolution's implementation.

There is also a disagreement about whether the meeting should take place under the auspices of the United Nations. If the UN does take the lead, it will mean the participation of Israel, which is not an NPT state party and has neither denied nor confirmed its nuclear arsenal.

The draft agreement calls on India and Pakistan to accede to the NPT as non-nuclear weapons states and urges them to strengthen their non-proliferation export control measures. Lastly, the draft condemns the nuclear tests announced by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 2006 and 2009 and calls on the DPRK to return to the stalled six-party talks.

Source: Xinhua


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