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.
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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.
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."
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.