Finland to host meeting on Mideast WMD-free zone

October 15, 2011 00:25

UNITED NATIONS - Finland has agreed to host a potentially divisive international conference next year on ridding the Middle East of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, the United Nations said on Friday.

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

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

British Foreign Secretary William Hague welcomed Finland's agreement to host the meeting, saying in a statement that "a Middle East free of all WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and their means of delivery is an achievable goal, and one which is vital to the long term peace and security of the region."

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