London: Israeli and Iranian officials are taking part in a nuclear proliferation meeting in Brussels in the hope of paving the way for a full international conference on banning nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction from the Middle East, according to a report.
A handful of officials from both Israel and Iran are involved in the two-day event in what was billed as an academic seminar.
The Israeli team is led by Jeremy Issacharoff, an ambassador for strategic affairs at the foreign ministry, and the chief Iranian representative is Ali Asghar Soltanieh, the country`s long-serving ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.
According to the Guardian, in contrast to the ever-worsening sabre-rattling over the Iranian nuclear programme, the mood at the meeting, convened by the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium, was described by one participant as ‘respectful and positive’.
The paper quoted Mark Fitzpatrick, a non-proliferation expert from the International Institute for Strategic Studies and former state department official, as saying that ‘there were no fireworks and no denunciations’ at the conference.
That marks an improvement over a similar event held last year, when the tone was described as mutual finger-wagging, the paper said.
However, it was unclear from the meeting whether the Helsinki conference would go ahead on schedule in December, it added.