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Arab League Speaks to NPT
Jill Marie Parillo
May 7, 2009
The Arab League's PrepCom statement, delivered by Wael Al-Assad, reported that the League welcomed the vision expressed by the United States, but clarified that action by nuclear weapon states must be taken.
The League referenced the vision President Obama set out regarding the future of nuclear weapons in the 21st Century and a call for a world free of nuclear weapons to be achieved through practical and gradual steps. The League welcomed this vision "as an expression of unprecedented political will by the US or any other nuclear weapon state."
However, this objective of a world free of nuclear weapons is not possible without achieving universality in the NPT, said Wael Al-Assad. Universality is brought up often at the NPT. It is usually in reference to the idea that the NPT will not succeed without getting non-signatories, Israel, Pakistan and India, on board.
The Arab League stressed the importance of bringing Israel into the NPT regime in particular, recalling that all NPT state parties agreed to its importance when they adopted the 1995 Middle East Resolution, which has yet to be implemented. If it is never implemented, the League said, it will represent an "insurmountable obstacle to any state parties" to take on any new requirements or give up any of their rights to strengthen nonproliferation policy.
The Arab League also reminded the U.S., and other nuclear weapon states, that most of the steps proposed by the US "are steps that the nuclear weapon states have already committed to pursue in the Final Document of the 2000 [NPT Review] Conference, but were later ignored." The League was referring to the 13 steps to nuclear disarmament agreed to in 2000. In 2003 the Bush Administration began reporting to the NPT that the United States no longer supported these steps, but now it’s the Obama Administration, so this may change.
Text of the full Arab League statement here