The second session of the Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction concluded today with the adoption of the Conference report and rules of procedure. The Conference also established a Working Committee for the intersessional period.
Conference President Mansour Ayyad Sh. A. Alotaibi (Kuwait), highlighting the commendable political will and the spirit of compromise demonstrated by all delegates, said that enabled an agreement on the summary of the thematic debate which will be part of the report of the Conference. The draft before members was discussed in detail during the morning’s informal session, he reported, adding that a nuclear‑weapon‑free zone in the Middle East will contribute to global peace and security.
The goal of the Conference’s second session was to provide a foundation for a legally binding treaty, he went on, calling on all members in the region to join the Conference and participate in the process. The journey to reach that objective will require strong political will and determination, he pointed out. During the current session, a decision was made to adopt a mechanism to carry out intersessional reports, he recalled, emphasizing that the task is now to take concrete action on agreements.
Iran’s delegate said that his country’s participation is a robust testimony of its commitment to the total and final elimination of all weapons of mass destruction at the earliest date. Welcoming the adoption of the rules of procedure, he cautioned that the conference’s success will be in jeopardy as long as Israel refuses to participate.
Representatives of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Qatar, Lebanon, Mauritania, Tunisia and an observer for the State of Palestine welcomed the milestones represented by the adoption of the report and the rules of procedure as well as the establishment of a Working Committee for the intersessional period. Stressing the importance of achieving a safe and secure environment in the Middle East as quickly as possible, they thanked the Secretariat and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs.
The Conference which began on 29 November heard from several speakers from the region, as well as United Nations Secretary‑General António Guterres and General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid. (For details, please see Press Release DC/3839.)
Calls for holding the Conference began in 1995 at the Review and Extension Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non‑Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. In accordance with General Assembly decision 73/546, in 2018, the Secretary‑General was entrusted with convening annual week‑long meetings with the aim of elaborating a treaty to create a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, and invite all States in the region, the five nuclear‑weapon States and relevant international organizations.