US thwarts anti-Israel vote on ME nuclear weapons ban

US Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller Friday blocked a proposal by Egypt and other Arab countries for the UN Secretary to call a regional conference on banning WMD in the Middle East. That conference would be with or without Israel's participation, without agreement on an agenda and with no discussion of regional security issues. This proposal was submitted by Egypt to the month-long review of the nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty which ended Friday. The US veto, backed by the UK and Canada, means the Arab proposal cannot be raised again for five years until the next review. Gottemoeller said some nations had tried to "cynically manipulate" the conference. A senior Western diplomat said bluntly: "Egypt wrecked the conference. … Egypt overshot the runway and has prevented the region from moving closer to a region [including Iran] free of [weapons of mass destruction]."

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