'Israel yet to make decision on ME nuclear summit'

UN ambassador Prosor says there must be "comprehensive peace" in region before Israel joins nuclear weapon free zone.

March 31, 2012 03:10
1 minute read.
Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor

Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor 311. (photo credit: Shahar Azran)

Israel's UN ambassador Ron Prosor said Friday that Israel has not yet made a decision whether to participate or not in an international conference on ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons.

The United Nations is pressing for a conference this year and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has previously said he hoped Israel would attend.

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Israel would only be willing to join a nuclear free zone "when there will be comprehensive peace in the region. Before that we feel that this is something that is absolutely not relevant," Prosor said.

The UN ambassador noted that there had been a number of occasions when the international community had "very little ability" to act regarding nuclear programs in the region.

Finland agreed last year to host the potentially divisive international conference on ridding the region of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), although no official date has since been set.

Undersecretary of State Jaakko Laajava at the Finnish Foreign Ministry will be the conference's facilitator, the UN said in a joint statement at the time with the United States, Britain and Russia.

The plan for a meeting to lay the groundwork for the possible creation of a WMD-free Middle East was agreed to at a May 2010 conference of 189 parties to the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which met to take stock of the troubled pact.

The United States fears such a meeting could be used as a forum to bash Israel and demand it abandon any nuclear arms it has.

US officials have said a nuclear arms-free zone in the Middle East could not be a reality until there was broad Arab-Israeli peace and Iran curbed its nuclear program.

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