In contrast to its precursor of 2005 [1], the month-long 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) at UN Headquarters has concluded with a 28 pages long Final Consensus. The document contains a chapter on the Middle East where the Resolution on the Middle East by the 1995 Review Extension Conference [2] is reaffirmed.

In order to prepare a conference in 2012, to be attended by all States of the Middle East, on the establishment of a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, Israel is explicitly mentioned, which has not signed the NPT yet but is suspected to have stockpiled a large arsenal of nuclear warheads.

IV. The Middle East, particularly implementation of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East

5. The Conference recalls the reaffirmation by the 2000 Review Conference of the importance of Israel’s accession to the Treaty (NPT) and the placement of all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards. The Conference reaffirms the urgency and importance of achieving universality of the Treaty. The Conference calls on all States in the Middle East that have not yet done so to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear weapon States so as to achieve its universality at an early date.

… ”

The United States have already deplored that Israel had been singled out in the document. The White House has released a statement to the press by National Security Advisor General James L. Jones saying,

“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 proposed regional conference, to be effective, must include all countries of the Middle East and other relevant countries. The United States will insist that this be a conference for discussion aimed at an exchange of views on a broad agenda, to include regional security issues, verification and compliance, and all categories of weapons of mass destruction and systems for their delivery. The conference would draw its mandate from the countries in the region in recognition of the principle that states in the region have sole authority regarding any WMD free zone in the Middle East.

“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.” (Emphasis added.)

General Jones then singles out Iran, a signatory to the NPT since 1968, which claims not to develop nuclear weapons but rather aiming in using nuclear energy for peaceful, civilian purposes.

“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.”

The planned conference in 2012 on a nuclear free Middle East won’t be easy to prepare. Israel has only two years left to join the NPT in order to participate in a constructive manner which is, after all, not to be expected. General Jones concludes,

“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[n] unbiased and constructive way.



[1] The 7th NPT RevCon of 2005 completely failed. Its final document only summarized the conduct of the meeting. An overview of what actually happened can be found here.

[2] In the Resolution on the Middle East of the 1995 Review Extension Conference the States in the region were, for the first time, called to join the NPT and put all nuclear facilities under safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Even though Israel was not explicitly mentioned in the Resolution, the conference was unable to agree on a Final Document.


Last update May 30, 2010.

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