x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Nuclear weapons-free pressure

The Government urges cooperation with the international community over their alleged nuclear weapons activities.

NEW YORK // The Government has urged Iran and Israel to comply with the international community over their alleged nuclear weapons activities. Hani Mohamed bin Huwaidin, a UAE delegate to the UN, rolled out the Government's proposals for a "nuclear weapons-free Middle East" in advance of a key vote by the world body. Later this month, members of the General Assembly's first committee will decide on two draft resolutions seeking to rid the region of nuclear arms and bolster security and stability in the area. "We emphasise the importance of demanding Israel to? [place] all its nuclear installations under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and its unconditional accession to the Non-Proliferation Treaty," Mr Huwaidin said during a UN debate. "We also urge the Islamic Republic of Iran to continue its co-operation with the IAEA and the international community to dispel fears and doubts surrounding its nuclear programme." Israel neither confirms nor denies whether it possesses nuclear weapons, although it is widely acknowledged to have a substantial arsenal. It is the only country in the region that has not signed up to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The US and other countries fear Iran is developing nuclear weapons and have demanded Tehran freeze its uranium-enrichment programme. Tehran maintains its atomic programme is for the peaceful production of energy. Mr Huwaidan said continued development of nuclear weapons and attempts by non-nuclear countries to acquire them "constitute a flagrant violation of the treaty of nuclear disarmament". "They also contribute to undermining confidence in the system of international relations, which in turn threatens the maintenance of regional and international peace and security." The UAE, together with other Arab League members, endorses two draft resolutions being debated by the committee, which deals with disarmament and global security. An Egypt-backed draft resolution calls for a "nuclear weapon free zone" in the Middle East. A second draft resolution sponsored by the Government and other league members highlights the "threats posed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons to the security and stability of the Middle East".

jreinl@thenational.ae