the Arab leaders demanded that the NPT review conference “adopt clear decisions and build up practical measures to make the Middle East a nuclear-free region”.
Israel, the sole nuclear power in the Middle East with reported 200 nuclear weapons, has systematically refused to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
On this issue, the Arab leaders warned that “Israel insistence on refusing to join non-proliferation treaty and submitting its nuclear facilities to the full guarantees system of the International Atomic Energy Agency, will lead the region to an arms race of dramatic consequences”.
In this regard, and coinciding with the Arab declaration, the Jerusalem Post daily reported on the same day, March 28, that the Israeli government will present “no concessions” at the nuclear security summit in Washington in April regarding its policy of maintaining “ambiguity” around its nuclear weapons, according to an Israel military official.
ARAB AND WORLD CAMPAIGNING
The issue of achieving a nuclear-free Middle East is not new. In fact, Egypt launched 36 years ago an active campaign aiming at the establishment of a “nuclear free Middle East”.
In 1990, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak revitalised the Egyptian initiative through a new, larger plan to declare the Middle East a “weapons of mass destruction free region”, including nuclear weapons.
The Egyptian initiative has drawn support from most Arab countries and has been reaffirmed by Amre Musa, Secretary General of the League of Arab States, representing all the 22 Arab countries, who continue to repeat: “It is a must to free the Middle East of nuclear weapons.”