Finland trying to talk Israel into nuclear-free Middle East conference (ISRAEL HAYOM) The Associated Press and Israel Hayom Staff 04/12/12)
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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
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
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
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
"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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