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Sat Nov 24, 2012, 03:00 PM

UK, U.N. hope Mideast nuclear talks take place next year

LONDON | Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:51pm GMT (Reuters) - Britain and the United Nations said on Saturday they hoped a conference aimed at trying to ban nuclear weapons in the Middle East could take place soon after the United States said it would not happen next month as originally planned.

If and when it happens, the conference is likely to be fraught as Iran and Arab states say Israel's presumed nuclear arsenal is the main threat to security in the region, while Israel and the West see Tehran as the main proliferation danger...

... The plan for a meeting to prepare the ground for the possible creation of a weapons of mass destruction-free Middle East was agreed to at a May 2010 conference of 189 parties to the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT.

Like nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, Israel has never signed the NPT. It neither confirms nor denies having nuclear arms, although non-proliferation and security analysts believe it has several hundred nuclear weapons.

The U.S. State Department said on Friday that the conference could "not be convened because of present conditions in the Middle East and the fact that states in the region have not reached agreement on acceptable conditions for a conference"...

/... http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/11/24/uk-britain-weapons-conference-idUKBRE8AN05O20121124

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