Wednesday, Aug. 05
Latest News
  1. Kerry in Qatar to assure Gulf allies over Iran deal
  2. Yemen rebel chief says ready for political settlement
  3. Turkey's Erdogan says Putin may 'give up' on Assad
  4. Israel president threatened over 'Jewish terrorism' comment
  5. Iraqi Kurdish leader vows to avenge Yazidis
  6. Turkey vows 'whatever necessary' in fight against militants
  7. 'Hundreds' of Gulf Arab troops enter Yemen's liberated Aden
  8. Kerry in Qatar to assure Gulf allies over Iran deal
  9. Teen stabbed at Gay Pride march dies as pressure mounts on Israel
  10. Kerry pledges support for Egypt in Cairo talks
  11. UAE to try 41 on charges of seeking 'caliphate'
  12. Two Turkish troops killed in 'PKK suicide attack'
  13. Iraqis protest over poor services, salty tap water
  14. Exiled Yemen PM makes symbolic Aden visit to lead restoration
  15. New Taliban leader calls for unity in ranks in first audio message
  16. Iraqi Kurdistan leadership says PKK should leave
  17. Kerry lands in Egypt on first leg of Mideast tour
  18. Iraqis protest over poor services, salty tap water
  19. Dozens dead as Syria army 'pushes back rebels near regime heartland'
  20. Yemen PM returns to Aden from Saudi exile

UK hopes Mideast nuclear talks can be held next year

Nov. 24, 2012 3:08 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 25, 2012 1:22 P.M.)
By: Mohammed Abbas
LONDON (Reuters) -- Britain said on Saturday it hoped a conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East could take place "as soon as possible", after the United States said it would not be held next month.

The US State Department said on Friday that the conference could "not be convened because of present conditions in the Middle East and the fact that states in the region have not reached agreement on acceptable conditions for a conference".

It did not spell out when or if the event, originally scheduled for December, would take place.

But Britain, which along with the United States, Russia and the United Nations is ones of the organizers, made it clear that the conference was only being postponed rather than cancelled altogether, saying it backed efforts to hold it next year.

"We support the convening of a conference as soon as possible. We endorse fully the work of the Conference Facilitator, Finnish Under-Secretary of State Jaakko Laajava, to build consensus on next steps," Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said in a statement.

"We welcome his commitment to conduct further multilateral consultations with the countries of the region to agree arrangements for a conference in 2013," Burt said.

Washington had feared that the conference, which was to be held in Finland, could be used as a forum to bash Israel, a concern likely to have increased after eight days of Israeli-Palestinian fighting that ended with a ceasefire on Wednesday.

Iran and Arab states often say Israel's presumed nuclear arsenal poses a threat to Middle East peace and security. Israel and Western powers see Iran as the main nuclear proliferation threat, but Tehran denies any nuclear weapons ambitions.

The plan for a meeting to prepare the ground for the possible creation of a weapons of mass destruction-free Middle East was agreed to at a May 2010 conference of 189 parties to the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT.

Like nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, Israel has never signed the NPT. It neither confirms nor denies having nuclear arms, although non-proliferation and security analysts believe it has several hundred nuclear weapons.

Even if the talks do occur, Western diplomats and others expect little progress any time soon due to the deep-rooted animosities in the region, notably the Arab-Israeli conflict and Israeli concerns about Iran's nuclear program.

Iran, Israel's arch foe, announced earlier this month it would attend the conference, but some Western diplomats said they thought Tehran may have only done so once it became clear that the meeting was likely to be postponed anyway
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015