UNITED NATIONS — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that the failure to hold a conference on establishing a nuclear-weapons-free-zone in the Middle East this year could jeopardize the success of next year’s review of the landmark 1970 agreement aimed at stopping the spread of nuclear arms.
Ban urged all parties to finalize arrangements for a Mideast conference to be held as soon as possible this year, in a report to the U.N. General Assembly circulated Thursday.
At the 2010 conference to review the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the 189 member nations that are party to the NPT called for convening a meeting in 2012 “on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.”
It was scheduled to take place in Finland in late 2012, but the United States announced it would be delayed, apparently to save Israel, which is widely believed to possess a nuclear arsenal, though it has never confirmed having nuclear weapons.
The final preparatory conference for the 2015 review of the NPT ended in May without agreement on final recommendations, and one of the two key issues was the failure to hold a conference on a Mideast weapons-free zone. One recommendation called for convening the conference this year.