Arabs, Israel to attend nuclear talks, Iran uncertain

By REUTERS
November 16, 2011 14:47

 
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VIENNA - Arab states and Israel plan to attend a rare round of talks next week on efforts to free the world of nuclear weapons but Iran has yet to say whether it will take part in the meeting in Vienna, diplomats said on Wednesday.

The Nov. 21-22 forum, hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency, is seen as symbolically significant in seeking to bring regional foes together at the same venue and start a dialogue, even though no concrete outcome is expected.

If conducted smoothly with toned-down rhetoric on both sides, it could send a positive signal ahead of a planned international conference next year on ridding the Middle East of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

"It is a good opportunity for everybody to sit and talk but I don't think it is going to achieve a tangible result," a Western diplomat said.

Israel is widely believed to harbor the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, drawing frequent Arab and Iranian condemnation.

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