Arabs, Israel, maybe Iran to attend IAEA talks

Iran has yet to RSVP to IAEA talks on freeing the world of nuclear weapons that will include both Arab states and Israel.

By REUTERS
November 16, 2011 15:16
3 minute read.
IAEA meeting Director General Yukiya Amano

IAEA meeting Director General Yukiya Amano 311 . (photo credit: Herwig Prammer / Reuters)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

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 (IAEA), 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.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
Iran: Missile base blast was caused by military research
Powers make 'progress' on IAEA Iran resolution

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.

Jerusalem and Washington regard Iran as the region's main proliferation threat, accusing Tehran of seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability in secret. An IAEA report last week added independent weight to those allegations.

Convened by IAEA chief Yukiya Amano, next week's discussions will focus on the experiences of regions in the world which have set up Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zones (NWFZ), including Africa and Latin America, and their possible relevance for the Middle East.

IAEA member states decided in 2000 that such a meeting should be held but until this year the parties involved were unable to agree on the agenda and other issues.

All 151 IAEA member countries have been invited to the talks, to be chaired by senior Norwegian diplomat Jan Petersen, but participating envoys from the region will be in focus.

"The forum will consider the experience of five NWFZs and two regional verification arrangements and discuss the potential relevance of such experience to the creation of a NWFZ in the Middle East," the IAEA said in a statement this week.

Diplomats said Israel and Arab states had accepted the invitation but that there had as yet been no word from Iran, which in September said it saw no justification for such a meeting now and took a swipe at arch-enemy Israel.

Israel, the only Middle East country outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has never confirmed or denied having nuclear weapons under a policy of ambiguity.

Jerusalem has said it would only join the NPT if there is a comprehensive Middle East peace with Arab states and Iran. If it signed the 1970 treaty, Israel would have to renounce nuclear weaponry.

Arab states, backed by Iran, say Israel's stance poses a threat to regional peace and stability.

Last month, the United Nations said Finland had agreed to host a potentially divisive international meeting in 2012 to discuss the possible creation of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.

The idea for such a conference came from Egypt, which pushed for a meeting with all states in the Middle East to negotiate a treaty that would establish a nuclear arms-free zone.

Washington's commitment will be key to the success or failure of next year's talks, Western diplomats say, as it is the only state that can persuade Israel to attend.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN