Obama: Balanced steps
Jones: Committed to Israel's security
WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama welcomed a nuclear non-proliferation deal reached Friday at a UN conference but "strongly" opposed singling out Israel over talks for a Mideast atomic weapon-free zone.
The agreement reached at the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference "includes balanced and practical steps that will advance non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, which are critical pillars of the global non-proliferation regime," Obama said in a statement.
The US president expressed concern however with the document's most controversial issue, a commitment to hold a regional conference in 2012 that would aim to create a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons.
Declaration proposing 2012 conference to discuss banning weapons of mass destruction across Middle East backed by 189 signatories of global anti-nuclear arms treaty. US 'deeply regrets' that Israel singled out in treaty text
"The United States has long supported such a zone, although our view is that a comprehensive and durable peace in the region and full compliance by all regional states with their arms control and nonproliferation obligations are essential precursors for its establishment," he said.
"We strongly oppose efforts to single out Israel, and will oppose actions that jeopardize Israel's national security."
Obama's national security advisor, General James L. Jones, also issued a statement to the same effect. "The United States will not permit a conference or actions that could jeopardize Israel’s national security," he said.
"We will not accept any approach that singles out Israel or sets unrealistic expectations. The United States’ long-standing position on Middle East peace and security remains unchanged, including its unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security."
Jones added that Washington had reservations about the declaration because it names Israel while ignoring Iran. "The United States deplores the decision to single out Israel in the Middle East section of the NPT document," he said.
"The failure of the resolution to mention Iran, a nation in longstanding violation of the NPT and UN Security Council Resolutions which poses the greatest threat of nuclear proliferation in the region and to the integrity of the NPT, is also deplorable."
The 28-page Final Declaration was approved by consensus on the last day of the month-long conference, convened every five years to review and advance the objectives of the 40-year-old NPT.
Under its action plan, the five recognized nuclear-weapon states – the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China – commit to speed up arms reductions, take other steps to diminish the importance of atomic weapons, and report back on progress by 2014.
The declaration also calls on Israel to submit its nuclear facilities to inspection by the UN, a clause the US sought to avoid, but it apparently withdrew objections in order to get the final draft approved.