U.S. and Russia to Propose Ban on WMD in the Middle East
The U.S. and Russia have drafted an initiative to ban nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, writes The Guardian. The proposal – involving the appointment of a special coordinator to conduct exploratory talks with Israel, Iran and the Arab states, followed by a regional conference – will be a central issue at a conference beginning tomorrow in New York aimed at preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons around the world. Many analysts believe that this year's conference will be decisive. "We're not at a nuclear tipping point, but we are approaching a nuclear tipping point," said Daryl Kimball, the head of the Ploughshares-funded Arms Control Association. Weeks of tough negotiation lie ahead, and success is far from preordained.
Deepti Choubey, an NPT expert at the Carnegie Institute for International Peace (and a former Ploughshares Fund staff member) said that "there is a range of outcomes. The best and most unlikely would be a final declaration that all states agree to and is meaningful. If you could get a summary from the chair that broadly captures a consensus, apart from a few spoilers, that is not a disaster." She disagrees that this is a "make-or-break" moment for the NPT.