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US, Arabs reach deal at nuclear treaty talks-envoys - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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UNITED NATIONS, (Reuters) – The United States and Egypt struck a deal on a push to pressure Israel to ultimately scrap any atomic bombs it has in a bid to avert a collapse of talks on shoring up the global anti-nuclear arms pact, envoys said on Friday.

But they said it was unclear whether Iran would attempt to single-handedly block an agreement on a final declaration that has now been agreed upon by the other 189 signatories of the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, who have been meeting for a month to find ways to strengthen the troubled pact.

“We have a deal that everyone can live with,” a Western diplomat told Reuters. “Now the question is will Iran do the right thing.”

The latest draft of a final declaration for the NPT review conference calls for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to organize a meeting of all Middle Eastern states in 2012 on how to make the region free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, as demanded by a 1995 NPT resolution.

It also urges Israel to sign the NPT and put its nuclear facilities under U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards — a passage the Americans had wanted deleted. In the end, they backed down in the interest of salvaging the conference, delegates told Reuters.

The creation of a WMD-free zone would eventually force Israel to abandon any atomic bombs it might have. The Jewish state, which like nuclear-armed India and Pakistan never signed the NPT, is presumed to have a sizable nuclear arsenal but neither confirms nor denies that.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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