Egypt, Russia to Work Harder on Starting WMD-Free Zone Confab

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 17, 2013, 7:02 a.m.

Fol­low­ing Syr­ia’s prom­ise to give up its chem­ic­al weapons, Egypt and Rus­sia on Monday pledged to work harder to garner Middle East­ern sup­port for a con­fer­ence on es­tab­lish­ing a re­gion-wide ban against un­con­ven­tion­al weapons, IT­AR-Tass re­por­ted.

“We agreed [to] prac­tic­al steps to in­vig­or­ate the pre­par­a­tion of this im­port­ant event, es­pe­cially against the back­ground of the Syr­i­an lead­er­ship’s de­cision to join the Chem­ic­al Weapons Con­ven­tion,” Rus­si­an For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lav­rov said after meet­ing with his Egyp­tian coun­ter­part, Nab­il Fahmy.

Syr­ia’s will­ing­ness to go along with WMD-free zone talks is ex­pec­ted to have re­per­cus­sions on oth­er re­gion­al states thought to pos­sess un­con­ven­tion­al weapons. Syr­ia has a siz­able chem­ic­al-weapons ar­sen­al and a sus­pec­ted bio­lo­gic­al weapons pro­gram.

In­ter­na­tion­al ef­forts in late 2012 to con­vene a U.N.-backed con­fer­ence on ne­go­ti­at­ing a weapons-of-mass-de­struc­tion-free zone for the whole Middle East fell apart after Is­rael would not con­firm its par­ti­cip­a­tion in the event. As Is­rael is widely seen as hold­ing the re­gion’s sole nuc­le­ar ar­sen­al, the Jew­ish state’s in­volve­ment in the con­fer­ence is seen is as es­sen­tial for it to be a suc­cess.

Wash­ing­ton sup­ports Is­rael’s po­s­i­tion that a re­gion­al pro­hib­i­tion on weapons of mass de­struc­tion is not real­ist­ic if there is no all-en­com­passing Ar­ab-Is­raeli peace deal and if Ir­an main­tains its en­rich­ment of urani­um and oth­er nuc­le­ar-weapon-re­lated activ­it­ies.

In­ter­na­tion­al at­ten­tion on Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al ar­sen­al also has meant that some of the spot­light also is on Is­rael’s own sus­pec­ted chem­ic­al-weapon cap­ab­il­it­ies. Is­rael has signed but not rat­i­fied the CWC ac­cord, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­por­ted.

One­time Is­raeli De­fense Min­is­ter Amir Peretz in a Monday ra­dio in­ter­view would not dis­cuss ques­tions about his na­tion’s sus­pec­ted chem­ic­al ar­sen­al. “It’s clear to every­one that [Is­rael] is a demo­crat­ic, re­spons­ible re­gime,” he said. “I very much hope and am cer­tain that the in­ter­na­tion­al com­munity will not make this a cent­ral ques­tion and we will main­tain the status quo.”

Is­raeli For­eign Min­istry spokes­man Paul Hirschson said his gov­ern­ment could not rat­i­fy the CWC pact in the present se­cur­ity cir­cum­stances.

What We're Following See More »
WILL TEST THE NORTH’S STANDDOWN
Joint U.S., South Korea War Games Set to Begin
49 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"A new cycle of escalation on the Korean Peninsula looks set to begin this week when the U.S. and South Korea kick off annual military exercises that have a history of enraging Pyongyang." The long-planned drills, set to last ten days, "will test whether North Korea’s apparent easing of its immediate threat to Guam proves durable—or if the de-escalation was really a backdown at all."

Source:
SAYS TRUMP JUST ATTACKING REPUBLICANS
Former Top Aide to McConnell Says GOPers Should Abandon Trump
3 days ago
THE LATEST
“YOU CAN’T CHANGE HISTORY, BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT”
Trump Defends Confederate Statues in Tweetstorm
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE
CEOS HAVE BEEN FLEEING FOR THE EXITS
Trump to End Business Councils
4 days ago
THE LATEST
FROM STATEMENT
McConnell: “No Good Neo-Nazis”
4 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login