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Finland trying to talk Israel into nuclear-free Middle East conference (ISRAEL HAYOM) The Associated Press and Israel Hayom Staff 04/12/12)Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=3942 Israel Hayom Israel Hayom Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Conference is slated for December in Helsinki • U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor said last month: "We will be willing to attend something like that when there is comprehensive peace in the region."

Israel is in talks with Finland about attending a conference on a nuclear-free Middle East to be held in Helsinki in December, Yigal Palmor, a Foreign Ministry spokesman told the French news agency AFP on Wednesday.

The planned conference comes amid growing international concern over Iran´s disputed nuclear program, which some Western countries believe is aimed at creating nuclear weapons, not just nuclear energy, as Iranian officials contend.

"The Finnish representative was in Israel recently but it was not a secret; it was a normal meeting," Palmor said of Finland´s Undersecretary of State Jaakko Laajava´s visit to Israel last week, as reported by Israel Radio. Palmor also said that Israel has not made a decision yet as to whether it will participate in the conference.

International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Yukiya Amano said in November 2011 that, “There is broad international support for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. But, among countries of the Middle East region and beyond, there are also long-standing differences of view related to the establishment of such a zone."

The Non-Proliferation Treaty came into force in the 1970s and has been signed by 189 states around the world. India, Pakistan and Israel are the only three countries that have not signed the NPT.

AFP reported that Israel has so far not committed to attending the event in Helsinki in December. Iran, a member of the NPT, also has not committed to attending the proposed conference. Laajava has been given the job of convincing both Israel and Iran to attend the Helsinki conference.

On March 30, Israel´s U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor spoke to a group of reporters regarding the proposed conference: "Our position on that is we will be willing to attend something like that when there is comprehensive peace in the region. Before that, we feel that this is something that is absolutely not relevant."

AFP notes that Israel is believed to be the only nuclear power in the Middle East, though undeclared, and apparently believes that the NPT is not a credible enough system to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons technology.

"This system has failed so many times -- in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria and in Iran. We must make a more credible system but we must wait for the Arab regimes to stabilise," a senior Israeli official told AFP.

"When we´re talking about proliferation, you cannot have a credible system until there is stability in the region," he said, referring to the wave of political turmoil which has engulfed much of the Arab world over the past 14 months.

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