UN nuclear weapons talks ended in failure ‘over Israel row’


Rose Gottemoeller
Rose Gottemoeller
A UN conference aimed at preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons has ended in failure after a row over a nuclear-free Middle East proposal.

The Egypt-backed plan had envisaged a regional forum which analysts say might have forced Israel to reveal whether or not it has nuclear weapons.

The proposal was blocked by the US, the UK and Canada. The next review is set for 2020.

Israel neither confirms nor denies it has a stockpile of nuclear weapons.

Egypt’s warning

Speaking after four weeks of negotiations, US Under-Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller accused Egypt and other Arab countries of “not willing to let go of these unrealistic and unworkable conditions” for future talks.

She also said some participants tried to “cynically manipulate” the whole process.

But Egypt warned that the failure to reach a deal “will have consequences in front of the Arab world and public opinion”, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Last month, Egypt had proposed to stage a regional conference – with or without Israel’s participation and without an agreed agenda.

Some analysts suggested that this move might have forced Israel – which is not a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) – to publicly clarify its position on nuclear weapons.

Decisions at NPT review conferences – held every five years – are made by consensus.

The failure of the current talks means the next gathering could only be held in 2020 at the earliest.