The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Friday that Egypt is heading an initiative to hold a conference to rid the Middle East of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.
In a statement published on Friday by the ministry, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kamel Amr said that the issue of organising the conference “will remain on the table, though Cairo is waiting for key players, especially the United Nations, to fulfil their obligations”.
The conference was originally scheduled to take place in 2012, however the four sponsors of the conference, the UN, the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom decided to postpone it. The reason for postponing the conference was because not all states in the region had agreed to attend.
At the time of the postponement the ministry and the Arab League both placed the blame on Israel’s lack of cooperation.
In the ministry’s statement Kamel Amr condemned the decision to postpone the conference, saying “the parties that should have been invited were not because of opposition from one country that has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)”. The minister confirmed that Arab states are unified on this issue and will not change their stance.
“The next step is to begin extensive consultations attended by all parties to develop a specific agenda for these consultations and be carried out under the umbrella of the UN,” read the statement.
The issue was discussed in the first session of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum held on 20 February in Moscow. Kamel Amr and Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil El-Araby both attended the forum. In a joint statement issued after the forum the ministers “confirmed their adherence to a serious and constructive approach to the goal of convening the conference in April 2013 at the latest”.
The statement also stressed the importance of Israel signing the NPT “and the placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards and the urgency of achieving universality of the treaty”.
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