With its commitment to address the serious issues standing in the way of ridding the region of all weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, the United States of America today underscored it fully supports the goal of a Middle East free of nuclear weapons.
In his remarks in Vienna in Austria, Assistant Secretary Thomas Countryman for Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation said US support to Middle East is unequivocal especially on regards to non-proliferation effrots.
“I can assure you that my government is prepared to take practical measures that can move us toward this goal.” -Mr. Countryman
He stresses that a Middle East free of all weapons of mass destruction is an achievable goal, but a long-term goal.
He notes it will not occur overnight or without a concerted effort in the region and internationally to make it a reality.
Just as internationa efforts to seek peace and security in a world without nuclear weapons will not be realized quickly, he stressed.
A WMD free zone in the Middle East can only be achieved once essential conditions are in place, most critically a comprehensive and durable peace and full compliance by all countries in the region with their nonproliferation obligations, Mr. Countryman underlined.
“We remain committed to the objectives of the Resolution on the Middle East adopted at the NPT Review and Extension Conference.” -Mr. Countryman
He stresses that since the adoption of the Middle East Resolution in 1995, the United States has worked with other concerned parties to help build the confidence needed to address the underlying security issues in a way that could give rise to real, constructive progress.
The United States continues to address the multiple instances of Treaty non-compliance that have arisen from the region.
He notes that if not appropriately addressed by member states, these cases of non-compliance threaten not only prospects for a Middle East free of WMD but also the very credibility of the NPT.
The United States will continue to work with the other cosponsors of the 1995 Resolution and the regional parties to fulfill commitment made at the 2010 Review Conference to convene a Conference on the Establishment of a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East, Mr. Countryman said.
“Such a Conference has the potential to foster official dialogue on regional security issues where none currently exists.” -Mr. Countryman
So, what might contribute to a successful Conference?
Mr. Countryman notes a Conference can only take place if all countries feel confident that they can attend; continued efforts to single out Israel or any other State will make a Conference increasingly less likely.
He stresses that all regional parties must attend the conference on an equal basis, regardless of their status vis-a-vis the various international arms control treaties.
Second, for the Conference to be constructive, Ms. Countryman says its purpose should be to exchange views on a broad agenda, including regional security issues, adherence, verification and compliance, and all categories of weapons of mass destruction and systems for their delivery.
He adds that the Conference should draw its mandate from the countries in the region in keeping with the internationally recognized principle that regional zones must be based on arrangements freely arrived at by states in the region and should originate from the region itself.
Finally, to ensure the Conference takes into account the views of all regional participants, he cites that the Conference must operate by consensus of the regional countries, to include agreement on any possible further discussions or follow-up actions, which logically can only take place with the consent of those countries.
“A successful Conference can lead to a continuing process.” -Mr. Countryman
He notes that an unsuccessful Conference cannot lead to a process.
And the success of the Conference depends primarily upon the efforts of the states of the Middle East, in the next few months, to lay the groundwork for full participation and consensus of regional states, he stressed.
Recognizing the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)in global security, the United States has underlined that the threat is not just theoretical, but also exists in real world.
The United States is committed to the complete elimination of chemi-cal weapons stockpiles in the United States and around the world. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Cliton has said, “To date, we have already destroyed 89 percent of our original chemical weapons stockpile. We reaffirm our commitment to finish the job as quickly as possible in accordance with national and treaty requirements that ensure the safety of people and the protection of the environment.”