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September 24, 2017

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Conference adopts 'best' document on nuke disarmament

Jonathan Granoff, GSI president, believed the declaration is a small but significant step that should be supported by the international community.

"It indicates a forward-looking commitment to disarmament and thus warrants the support of the international community," Granoff said.

Granoff said the five nuclear powers, known also as P5 because they are the five permanent members on the 15-nation U.N. Security Council, had effectively removed from the declaration all references to the most important and significant disarmament commitments.

"It is ironic that such levels of cooperation could be obtained among states, some of which threaten each other with thousands of nuclear weapons and civilization annihilation," said Granoff. "If only they could cooperate with such unity to get rid of the weapons."

As part of the declaration, Arab governments agreed for the first time since 1995 to hold an initial conference in 2012 to establish a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East. The three countries — the U.S., Russia and Britain — that supported the conference in 1995 are called to work with the U.N. secretary general to organize the conference.

"All" Middle East nations are called to attend the conference, the document said, while calling on Israel to sign on to the NPT.

India and Pakistan, which exploded nuclear devices, have also refused to join the NPT. North Korea, a signatory, exploded nuclear devices in 2006 and 2009 and refused to let International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts inspect its nuclear facilities, in violation of the NPT.

For the first time, the NPT declaration called for North Korea to return "at an early date" to talks and to carry out obligations under the six-party talks, which involve China, the U.S., Russia, Japan, North and South Korea. Those obligations include the "complete and verifiable abandonment of all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs."

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been rising after North Korea was alleged to have sunk in March a South Korea naval ship with a torpedo, killing 46 sailors.

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