Ahmadinejad, boarding plane to New York
Photo: AFP
Clinton, ready for Iranian president
Photo: AFP
Obama, to expose nuclear arsenal?
Photo: AP

Report: NPT conference to focus on Mideast

Guardian reports Russia, US draft initiative to disarm Middle East of nuclear weapons, WMDs

The US and Russia have drafted an initiative to disarm the Middle East of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, the British Guardian reported on Sunday. The initiative is expected to be at the center of the month-long Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference to open on Monday.


The proposal includes the appointment of a special coordinator to conduct exploratory talks with Israel, Iran and the Arab states, followed by a regional conference. Washington and Moscow have already sent the proposal to the three other UN Security Council permanent members, in hopes of receiving their support.


However, it remains unclear whether the initiative, which is based on a 15-year-old agreement, would be substantial enough for Egypt, as Cairo has long supported the notion of a WMD-free Middle East, and, pointing at Israel, has stressed the Jewish state must reveal its arsenal of nuclear warheads.


Another point of focus at this month's conference may be a potential face-off between US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian president caused a storm when he announced he would head his country's delegation to the UN, and even filed for a visa to the US.


"The Iranian nation has some things to say and some very important, tangible proposals to make regarding the nuclear weapons that pose the biggest threat to the world's security," Ahmadinejad told an Iranian television station before boarding a plane to New York.


Meanwhile, on Sunday, Clinton told NBC's "Meet the Press" that she did not see Iran's purpose in attending the NPT conference and expressed concern that Ahmadinejad would "somehow divert attention from this very important global effort or cause confusion that might possibly throw into doubt what Iran has been up to... I don't believe he will have a particularly receptive audience."


Another point of interest is the American nuclear arsenal. According to recent reports, US President Barack Obama may be seeking to make a "dramatic statement" at the start of the conference, and some believe he plans to expose the scope of the American nuclear arsenal.


When the NPT entered effect, there were five nuclear superpowers – China, the US, France, Britain and Russia. Today, North Korea, India, Pakistan, and according to foreign press, possibly Israel, have been added to the list.


פרסום ראשון: 05.03.10, 09:42
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