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INTERNATIONAL > Istanbul meet to seek nuclear disarmament

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks in a nuclear facility in this photo. AP photo

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks in a nuclear facility in this photo. AP photo

Sevil Erkuş Sevil Erkuş sevil.kucukkosum@hdn.com.tr

The International community is seeking to establish a forum for nuclear disarmament in the Middle East, which aims to create an environment of confidence and a control mechanism in the region.

The ministerial meeting of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), scheduled to take place in Istanbul June 16, will discuss the 2012 Middle East Conference, in which relevant countries including Israel and Iran will participate in later this year in December in Helsinki.

Facilitator of the 2012 Middle East Conference, the Finnish Undersecretary of State Ambassador Jaakko Laajava is still conducting talks with Middle East states for participation. None of the relevant states have definitely refused to attend the conference yet, a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News.
NPDI will contribute to the forum, while the International Atomic Energy Agency will also participate, the official said. “Our aim is participation of all relevant countries; Yemen from the south, Syria from the north and Libya from the west,” the official said. Finland will host the conference for impartiality as it is not a regional country, the official noted.

Doubt on Israel’s participation

There are doubts that Israel, Iran, and Syria will attend. After the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Review Conference in 2010, Israel stated that the consensus document ignores the realities of the Middle East and that as a non-signatory to the NPT, Israel is not obligated to follow the decisions of the review conference. However, Israel has recently signaled some flexibility and engaged in consultations on the appointment of the facilitator, and later with the facilitator himself. Iran has expressed that Israel should not be present at an NPT-mandated conference.

June/15/2012

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