- The long-awaited announcements on the delay to the Helsinki ‘2012 Conference’ on a nuclear and other WMD free zone in the Middle East came out over the weekend from the co-sponsors. The appointed facilitator for the conference, Ambassador Jaakko Laajava, called for multilateral consultations to be convened as soon as possible but a Friday announcement by the US claimed that the conference could not be convened, blaming ‘present conditions in the Middle East’ and the lack of agreement over the ‘conditions for a conference’. The US announcement called on states ‘to take a fresh look at the obstacles’, placing its support clearly in the Israeli camp that the conference needs a ‘broad agenda that covers regional security’. It pointedly gives little hope that the conference will be convened anytime soon, and leads some analysts to conclude that this is actually a cancellation rather than a postponement. The UK calls for the conference to be convened as soon as possible in 2013, and Moscow deplores the fact that not all Middle East nations have agreed to attend the conference and said that the conference must happen before April 2013, the date of the next NPT Preparatory Committee.Read the complete article here.
- A conference to establish a weapons free zone in the Middle East was postponed on Saturday. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the League of Arab States (LAS) blamed to Israel’s lack of cooperation. A statement released on Sunday by the MFA stated, “Egypt refuses the announced excuses not to hold a conference in 2012 as scheduled.” The statement expressed “reservations on what is being said about the inability of the parties to the organisation of a conference.” It pointed to the “non-constructive attitudes adopted by the state that is not a member of the [non-proliferation] treaty,” referring to Israel, which the only Middle Eastern country to have never signed the treaty. Similarly the Secretary General of the LAS, Nabil El-Araby released a statement which “expressed regret at the decision of the organisers… to postpone the conference.” The statement also highlighted that the LAS previously “rejected any attempts to postpone the conference.” El-Araby “stressed that all countries in the region except Israel have expressed their willingness to participate in the conference on schedule in accordance with what was agreed upon.” Read the complete article here.
NAM slams nuclear meeting cancellation, urges Israel to join NPT, Press TV, Dec. 1, 2012
Mideast nuclear-free vision turns into a mirage, Opinion by Paul Meyer, Toronto Star, Nov. 28, 2012
Bringing Israel into the WMD-free zone; Will the Helsinki Conference take place, and should and can Israel be at the table? The answers are: Yes, and yes, Opinion by Hillel Schenker, Haaretz, Nov.30, 2012