VIENNA, Dec 6 (KUNA) -- The Arab group of states and the Non-Aligned
Movement (NAM) member states agreed to continue lobbying for a conference on
establishing a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons
of mass destruction (WMD).
The conference presents a unique opportunity to lay the groundwork for new
security arrangements for the Middle East that would strengthen
nonproliferation and arms control measures, diplomats told KUNA here on
During their meeting here yesterday, representatives of Arab and NAM
countries agreed that the conference has to take place as soon as possible
despite the US objection, the sources said.
Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister Hesham Badr who represented the Arab
countries at the meeting warned that failure to convene the planned conference
would put in jeopardy the implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT) and could impact negatively on the future NPT review conferences,
Speaking on behalf of the NAM, Iran's permanent envoy to the IAEA, Ali
Asghar Soltanieh urged coordination between the organizers of the conference
and the UN secretary-general for seizing the opportunity of the conference to
create a WMD-free Middle East.
The conference, originally planned to take place in Helsinki, capital of
Finland, late this month as agreed by the 2010 NPT Review Conference, was
called off by the United States on November 23.
While announcing the cancellation of the conference, the US did not specify
when or whether it would take place. (end)
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