US and Israel Cancel Talks on Middle East Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone

Mideast nuke talks called off

Attempts tAttempts to find Arab-Israeli common ground on banning weapons of mass destruction from the Mideast have failed, and high-profile talks on the issue have been called off, diplomats said Saturday.o find Arab-Israeli common ground on banning weapons of mass destruction from the Mideast have failed, and high-profile talks on the issue have been called off, diplomats said Saturday.

The two diplomats said the United States, one of the organizers, would likely make a formal announcement soon saying that with tensions in the region remaining high, “time is not opportune” for such a gathering. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge the cancellation ahead of the formal announcement.

The meeting — to be held in Helsinki, Finland, by year’s end — was on shaky ground since it was agreed to in 2010 by the 189 member nations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Its key sponsors were the U.S., Russia and Britain, but they said such as meeting was only possible if all countries — especially Israel —agreed to attend.

The decision to postpone, if not to scrap it, will cast doubt on the significance of the NPT and its attempts every five years to advance nonproliferation. Any new attempt is unlikely until the NPT conference meets again in 2015.

Source and full story: Yahoo News/AP, 11 Nov 2012

Tom Sullivan