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NPT meet agrees steps on nuclear-free Mideast

A landmark conference to curb the spread of nuclear weapons agreed on talks toward the establishment of a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East.



United Nations: A landmark conference to
curb the spread of nuclear weapons agreed on Saturday on talks
toward the establishment of a nuclear weapon-free zone in the
Middle East.

It was the first agreement in a decade on the nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which since 1970 has set the
global agenda for keeping countries from getting the bomb.

The 28-page final statement calls for holding a
conference in 2012 "to be attended by all states of the Middle
East, leading to the establishment of a nuclear-free zone.

It also mentions the importance of Israel`s accession to
the treaty and the placement of all its nuclear facilities
under comprehensive IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)
safeguards.

Iran was not cited despite its defiance of successive UN
resolutions calling for the Islamic republic to halt uranium
enrichment and be more transparent about its suspect nuclear
programme.

Egypt and Iran have led calls for Israel to join the NPT,
which would mean the Jewish state would have to give up its
nuclear arsenal and to agree to a nuclear weapons-free zone in
the Middle East.

Israel, which opposes creating a zone until Middle East
peace has been achieved, has never acknowledged that it has
nuclear weapons.

Egyptian ambassador Maged Abdelaziz praised the NPT
conference for "putting into action an effective process to
implement the 1995 resolution on the Middle East," which first
called for the zone.

No countries objected to the adoption of an action plan
which includes moves towards disarmament, verification of
nuclear programmes worldwide to be sure they are peaceful,
promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy and talks on a
zone.

PTI

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