Obama hails ‘balanced’ non-proliferation accord

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama welcomed a nuclear non-proliferation deal reached Friday at a UN conference but “strongly” opposed singling out Israel over talks for a Mideast atomic weapon-free zone.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sat 29 May 2010, 9:35 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:00 AM

The agreement reached at the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference “includes balanced and practical steps that will advance non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, which are critical pillars of the global non-proliferation regime,” Obama said in a statement.

The accord agreed by the NPT’s 189 nations — their first in a decade — “underscores that those nations that refuse to abide by their international obligations must be held accountable,” Obama added.

The US president expressed concern however with the document’s most controversial issue, a commitment to hold a regional conference in 2012 that would aim to create a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons.

“The United States has long supported such a zone, although our view is that a comprehensive and durable peace in the region and full compliance by all regional states with their arms control and nonproliferation obligations are essential precursors for its establishment,” he said.

“We strongly oppose efforts to single out Israel, and will oppose actions that jeopardize Israel’s national security.”

The NPT members’ final statement calls for holding a conference in 2012 “to be attended by all states of the Middle East, leading to the establishment¨ of such a zone.

It also mentions ¨the importance of Israel’s accession to the treaty and the placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards.¨

The United States had opposed putting such a statement in the text.

Iran was not cited despite its defiance of successive UN resolutions calling for the Islamic republic to halt uranium enrichment and be more transparent about its suspect nuclear program.

“The greatest threat to proliferation in the Middle East, and to the NPT, is Iran’s failure to live up to its NPT obligations,” Obama said.

“We must work for a world where nations benefit from the peaceful power of nuclear energy, while also being secure from the threat posed by nuclear proliferation.”

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