Dispute over nuclear arms ban ends in failure

2015-05-23 13:13

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New York - A month-long review conference on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has ended in failure after its members were unable to overcome disagreements on an atomic weapons ban for the Middle East, which the United States blamed on Egypt.

After four weeks of negotiations at the United Nations on ways to improve compliance with the pact, there was no consensus among its 191 signatories. US under secretary of state, Rose Gottemoeller announced there was "no agreement" and accused some countries of undermining the negotiations.

Gottemoeller did not say which nations had tried to "cynically manipulate" the conference, though she accused Egypt and other Arab states of bringing "unrealistic and unworkable conditions" to the negotiations.

Prevented moving closer

A senior Western diplomat was more blunt: "Egypt wrecked the conference. It overshot the runway and has prevented the region from moving closer to a region free of (weapons of mass destruction)."

Egypt denied trying to wreck the conference.

The US concerns were echoed by Canada and Britain. Cairo's top delegate, assistant foreign minister Hashim Badr, blamed Washington, London and Ottawa for the failure to achieve consensus, saying it was a "sad day for the NPT."

Last month, Egypt, backed by other Arab and non-aligned states, proposed that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convene a regional conference on banning weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as called for at the 2010 NPT review. The conference would be with or without Israel's participation, without agreement on an agenda and with no discussion of regional security issues.

Nuclear arsenal

Those conditions are unacceptable to Israel and Washington.

Decisions at NPT review conferences, which are held every five years, are made by consensus.

Israel neither confirms nor denies the widespread assumption that it controls the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal. Israel, which has never joined the NPT, agreed to take part in the review meeting as an observer, ending a 20-year absence.

Read more on:    us  |  nuclear programme

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