Israel Reportedly Meets with Arab States to Discuss WMD-Free Zone


Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Nov. 1, 2013, 11:02 a.m.

Seni­or Is­raeli gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials last week re­portedly gathered with rep­res­ent­at­ives from Ar­ab na­tions to re­view the po­ten­tial for con­ven­ing a Middle East­ern con­fer­ence fo­cused on es­tab­lish­ing a re­gion­al ban on all un­con­ven­tion­al weapons, the Times of Is­rael re­por­ted on Thursday.

The gath­er­ing was pre­vi­ously re­por­ted to be aimed at reach­ing agree­ment on the terms and ob­ject­ives of fu­ture ne­go­ti­ations over a re­gion­al weapons of mass de­struc­tion-free zone.

Is­raeli For­eign Min­istry Deputy Dir­ect­or Gen­er­al Jeremy Is­sachar­off and an uniden­ti­fied high-rank­ing Is­raeli Atom­ic En­ergy Com­mis­sion of­fi­cial rep­res­en­ted their gov­ern­ment at the mul­tina­tion­al for­um held in Switzer­land. While Libya, Oman and the United Ar­ab Emir­ates had spe­cially as­signed of­fi­cials rep­res­ent­ing them at the meet­ing, oth­er Ar­ab states as well as Ir­an sent en­voys from their Swiss em­bassies, ac­cord­ing to a re­port in the Hebrew-lan­guage Maariv news­pa­per. U.S., Brit­ish and Rus­si­an of­fi­cials were said to be in at­tend­ance, as was Jaakko Laa­java, the Finnish dip­lo­mat who serves as fa­cil­it­at­or for the hoped-for ne­go­ti­ations.

The Is­raeli For­eign Min­istry did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment on the Maariv re­port. No oth­er in­form­a­tion was re­por­ted on about the Swiss meet­ing.

If the re­port is con­firmed as true, it would mark the first time that Is­raeli, Ar­ab and Ir­a­ni­an gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have gathered to­geth­er to ham­mer out an agenda for ne­go­ti­at­ing a WMD-free zone, ac­cord­ing to an Arutz Sheva 7 Is­raeli news sta­tion re­port. Ar­ab League of­fi­cials re­portedly were con­cerned that hav­ing Is­rael at the talks would res­ult in a di­min­ished fo­cus in the agenda on the Jew­ish state’s widely as­sumed nuc­le­ar ar­sen­al.

A U.N.-backed ef­fort to in late 2012 to or­gan­ize a con­fer­ence for all Middle East­ern coun­tries nev­er came to­geth­er when at the last minute Is­rael would not con­firm its at­tend­ance. As Is­rael is un­der­stood to pos­sess the re­gion’s sole stock­pile of nuc­le­ar weapons, its par­ti­cip­a­tion was seen as es­sen­tial if any pro­gress was go­ing to be made in ne­go­ti­at­ing a weapons ban.

Is­rael has said it can­not par­ti­cip­ate in WMD-free zone talks un­til con­cerns about the mil­it­ary ap­plic­a­tions of Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar de­vel­op­ment are re­solved and there is an over­arch­ing Ar­ab-Is­raeli peace agree­ment in place. However, the re­cent agree­ment by Syr­ia’s Bashar As­sad to sur­render his large stock­pile of chem­ic­al weapons to in­ter­na­tion­al de­struc­tion is seen to have en­cour­aged re­gion­al hopes for ne­go­ti­at­ing a ban on all bio­lo­gic­al, chem­ic­al and nuc­le­ar arma­ments.

What We're Following See More »
In Dropout Speech, Santorum Endorses Rubio
2 days ago

As expected after earlier reports on Wednesday, Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid. But less expected: he threw his support to Marco Rubio. After noting he spoke with Rubio the day before for an hour, he said, “Someone who has a real understanding of the threat of ISIS, real understanding of the threat of fundamentalist Islam, and has experience, one of the things I wanted was someone who has experience in this area, and that’s why we decided to support Marco Rubio.” It doesn’t figure to help Rubio much in New Hampshire, but the Santorum nod could pay dividends down the road in southern states.

Rubio, Trump Question Obama’s Mosque Visit
2 days ago

President Obama’s decision to visit a mosque in Baltimore today was never going to be completely uncontroversial. And Donald Trump and Marco Rubio proved it. “Maybe he feels comfortable there,” Trump told interviewer Greta van Susteren on Fox News. “There are a lot of places he can go, and he chose a mosque.” And in New Hampshire, Rubio said of Obama, “Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.”

Cruz Must Max Out on Evangelical Support through Early March
2 days ago

For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
2 days ago

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

Sanders: Obama Is a Progressive
1 days ago

“Do I think President Obama is a progressive? Yeah, I do,” said Bernie Sanders, in response to a direct question in tonight’s debate. “I think they’ve done a great job.” But Hillary Clinton wasn’t content to sit out the latest chapter in the great debate over the definition of progressivism. “In your definition, with you being the gatekeeper of progressivism, I don’t think anyone else fits that definition,” she told Sanders.