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Press Releases, 5/9/2012

Preparations for the 2012 conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction continue

Press release 106/2012
8 May 2012

The facilitator for the conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction, Under-Secretary of State Jaakko Laajava reported to the States Parties of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at their meeting in Vienna on 8 May. In his first official briefing since his appointment in October 2011, Under-Secretary Laajava gave his assessment on the Conference preparations and facilitation activities. Over the past six months, Under-Secretary of State Laajava has had over a hundred meetings with representatives of all the countries of the Middle East, nuclear weapon states, international organisations and civil society.

The consultations have aimed at preparing for the conference and seeking common ground for the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. The meetings have been constructive and showed that all countries share the goal of establishing a zone. However, the views differ on the timeframe and means to achieve this goal.

The report by Under-Secretary Laajava was welcomed and he was encouraged to continue his efforts. Cooperation between the countries of the region was raised as an important factor in preparing for a successful Conference.

The conference will be convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States. The facilitator, the conveners and the countries of the region will continue to engage in close cooperation to organize the conference in Helsinki in 2012. December has frequently been mentioned as a possible timing for the conference.

Further information: Ambassador Aapo Pölhö, tel. +358 40 350 9892, and Ambassador Heidi Schroderus-Fox, tel. +358 40 730 3307

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Updated 5/9/2012

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