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Obama likes Mid East NPT conference, but Jones quickly expresses ‘serious reservations’

Israel/Palestine
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One more thought re the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference that just ended.

Here is Barack Obama’s statement on the conference, excerpted. Note the support for a regional conference in 2012 on the Middle East, with references to Israel and Iran:

The United States welcomes the agreements reached at the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference to strengthen the global non-proliferation regime.
 
…The document includes an agreement to hold a regional conference in 2012 to discuss issues relevant to a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems.  The United States has long supported such a zone, although our view is that a comprehensive and durable peace in the region and full compliance by all regional states with their arms control and nonproliferation obligations are essential precursors for its establishment.  We strongly oppose efforts to single out Israel, and will oppose actions that jeopardize Israel’s national security. 

The greatest threat to proliferation in the Middle East, and to the NPT, is Iran’s failure to live up to its NPT obligations….

That wasn’t good enough. Within an hour, the White House issued a second statement, this one from National Security Advisor, General James L. Jones. It goes a lot further than Obama, and as Ali Gharib has pointed out, mentions Israel six times. Who writes this stuff? And is this all about donors for the 2010 election cycle?

Despite our agreement to the final document, we have serious reservations about one aspect of the Middle East resolution it contains.  The final document includes an agreement to hold a regional conference in 2012 to discuss issues relevant to a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems.  The United States has long supported such a zone, although our view is that a comprehensive and durable peace in the region and full compliance by all regional states with their arms control and nonproliferation obligations are essential precursors for its establishment.  Just as our commitment to seek peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons will not be reached quickly, the U.S. understands that a WMD free zone in the Middle East is a long-term goal.

…The United States will not permit a conference or actions that could jeopardize Israel’s national security.  We will not accept any approach that singles out Israel or sets unrealistic expectations.  The United States’ long-standing position on Middle East peace and security remains unchanged, including its unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.  

In this respect, the United States deplores the decision to single out Israel in the Middle East section of the NPT document.

The failure of the resolution to mention Iran, a nation in longstanding violation of the NPT and UN Security Council Resolutions which poses the greatest threat of nuclear proliferation in the region and to the integrity of the NPT, is also deplorable.
 
As a cosponsor charged with enabling this conference, the United States will ensure that a conference will only take place if and when all countries feel confident that they can attend.  Because of gratuitous way that Israel has been singled out, the prospect for a conference in 2012 that involves all key states in the region is now in doubt and will remain so until all are assured that it can operate in a unbiased and constructive way.

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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