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Saturday, November 24, 2012

'Nuke free Middle East conference postponed

A conference that was to be held next month in Finland to promote a nuclear free Middle East has been postponed indefinitely due to the lack of consensus among parties who would need to reach agreement. The conference was postponed by its sponsors.
"As a co-sponsor of the proposed conference ... the United States regrets to announce that the conference cannot 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," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.
Nuland said that "a deep conceptual gap persists in the region" on how to handle regional security and arms control, adding that "outside states cannot impose a process on the region any more than they can dictate an outcome."
Following the US announcement that the talks would not be taking place next month, British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said Saturday that the conference was only being postponed rather than cancelled altogether.
"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," he added.
The plan for a meeting to lay the groundwork for the possible creation of a WMD-free Middle East was agreed to at a May 2010 conference of 189 parties to the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT.
The United States, feared 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 fierce Israeli-Palestinian fighting that ended with a ceasefire on Wednesday.
I could have told them two years ago that there would never be a nuclear free Middle East. Heck, I did tell them two years ago that there would never be a nuclear free Middle East. 

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