UNITED NATIONS — The 189 member nations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty on Friday adopted a detailed plan of small steps down a long road toward nuclear disarmament, including a sharply debated proposal to move toward banning the doomsday arms from the Middle East.
The 28-page Final Declaration was approved by consensus on the last day of the monthlong conference, convened every five years to review and advance the objectives of the 40-year-old NPT.
Under its action plan, the five recognized nuclear-weapon states — the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China — commit to speed up arms reductions, take other steps to diminish the importance of atomic weapons, and report back on progress by 2014.
The final document also calls for convening a conference in 2012 "on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction." This Arab idea of a WMD-free zone is designed to pressure Israel to give up its undeclared nuclear arsenal.