U.S. mulls Middle East nuclear weapons-free zone: Report

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Washington, May 1(ANI): The U.S. administration is reportedly negotiating a proposal with Egypt to make the Middle East a region free of nuclear weapons.

According to the Wall Street Journal, through the negotiations, the U.S. also seeks to prevent Iran from derailing a month long U.N. conference on nuclear nonproliferation that begins Monday.

Senior Obama administration officials said the White House is willing to significantly advance a Middle East nuclear weapons-free zone, and would support a conference on the subject at a future date.

"We've made a proposal to them [Egypt] that goes beyond what the U.S. has been willing to do before," the newspaper quoted a senior U.S. official involved in the nuclear diplomacy, as saying.

US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher, however said that the U.S. does not believe the aim could be achieved without major advances in Arab-Israeli peace talks.We are concerned that the conditions are not right unless all members of the region participate, which would be unlikely unless there is a comprehensive peace plan which is accepted," Tauscher said.

She said the U.S. has also discussed the zone with the Arab League and other members of the Non-aligned Movement.

According to several U.S. officials, it is an important step in assuring countries that Washington will address weapons proliferation across the region. (ANI)

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