US accepts Arab demands to pressure Israel over nuclear program

U.S. accepted Arab demands to pressure Israel over its atomic program to rescue talks on shoring up a global anti-nuclear arms pact, Western envoys said.

US accepts Arab demands to pressure Israel over nuclear program


The United States accepted Arab demands to pressure Israel over its atomic program to rescue talks on shoring up a global anti-nuclear arms pact, Western envoys said on Friday.

But they said Iran or Syria might still block a final declaration now agreed by most of the 190 signatories of the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, who have been trying for a month to strengthen the troubled pact.

Either or both could block the declaration because NPT meetings make decisions through consensus. If agreed, this would be the first deal at an NPT review meeting since 2000.

"We have a deal that everyone can live with," a Western diplomat told Reuters. "Now the question, is will Iran do the right thing? Will they go against something the entire Arab League and everyone else here is ready to support?"

Syrian delegates also refused to commit themselves to supporting the final declaration.

The final draft urges Israel, which did not participate in the conference, to sign the NPT and put its nuclear facilities under U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. The United States fought hard to delete that clause but backed down to save the conference, delegates said.

Delegates were to hold a final session later on Friday to adopt the declaration, which contains plans for further disarmament, strengthening global non-proliferation efforts and ensuring access to technology for peaceful uses.

The NPT is intended to stop the spread of atomic weapons, though it allowed the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia to keep their arsenals while calling on them to negotiate on disarmament.

The latest draft calls for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to organize a meeting of all Mideast states in 2012 on how to make the region free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The creation of a WMD-free zone would eventually force Israel to declare and abandon its atomic bombs. U.S. officials say such a zone could not be created without Mideast peace.

The Jewish state, which never signed the NPT, is presumed to have a sizable nuclear arsenal but neither confirms nor denies its existence.

The Obama administration changed U.S. policy by joining Britain, France, Russia and China in backing a Mideast nuclear conference.

"We've got a strong draft that would strengthen all three pillars of the NPT -- disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy," a diplomat said.

Reuters

Last Mod: 29 Mayıs 2010, 09:22
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