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

Global Security Newswire Staff
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 »
Priebus Asks Party to Unite Behind Trump
11 hours ago
Sanders Upsets Clinton in Indiana
12 hours ago

Despite trailing Hillary Clinton by a significant margin, Bernie Sanders wasn't going the way of Ted Cruz tonight. The Vermont senator upset Clinton in Indiana, with MSNBC calling the race at 9pm. Sanders appears poised to win by a five- or six-point spread.

Ted Cruz Bows Out, Effectively Ceding the Contest to Trump
12 hours ago

And just like that, it's over. Ted Cruz will suspend his presidential campaign after losing badly to Donald Trump in Indiana tonight. "While Cruz had always hedged when asked whether he would quit if he lost Indiana; his campaign had laid a huge bet on the state." John Kasich's campaign has pledged to carry on. “From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” said Cruz. “Tonight, I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed."

Trump Wins Indiana, All but Seals the Nomination
13 hours ago

The Republican establishment's last remaining hope—a contested convention this summer—may have just ended in Indiana, as Donald Trump won a decisive victory over Ted Cruz. Nothing Cruz seemed to have in his corner seemed to help—not a presumptive VP pick in Carly Fiorina, not a midwestern state where he's done well in the past, and not the state's legions of conservatives. Though Trump "won't secure the 1,237 delegates he needs to formally claim the nomination until June, his Indiana triumph makes it almost impossible to stop him. Following his decisive wins in New York and other East Coast states, the Indiana victory could put Trump within 200 delegates of the magic number he needs to clinch the nomination." Cruz, meanwhile, "now faces the agonizing choice of whether to remain in the race, with his attempt to force the party into a contested convention in tatters, or to bow out and cede the party nomination to his political nemesis." The Associated Press, which called the race at 7pm, predicts Trump will win at least 45 delegates.

What’s the Average Household Income of a Trump Voter?
18 hours ago

Seventy-two thousand dollars, according to FiveThirtyEight. That's higher than the national average, as well as the average Clinton or Sanders voter, but lower than the average Kasich voter.