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Israel has role to play in nuke-free ME

18 April 2010 7:13

Russia’s deputy foreign minister insists that Israel has a crucial role to play in realizing a Middle East free from nuclear weapons.

“We need to achieve the goal of the establishment of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and here the Israeli’s role is very crucial,” said Sergei Ryabkav, speaking to the Press TV on Saturday in the first day of an international conference on nuclear disarmament in Tehran.

The conference dubbed “Nuclear Energy For All, Nuclear Weapons For None” kicked off in the Iranian capital on Saturday and will continue through Sunday.

“Without their due involvement, nothing would be possible,” he added.

Ryabkav added that “the recognized nuclear weapon [armed] states” had to be joined in by the “countries who possess this weapon…but are not formally recognized as such in terms of the [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] NPT.”

The Russian official was referring to Israel, which is reported to have hundreds of nuclear warheads but has refused to sign the NPT.

Analysts for the reputable military journal Jane’s Defense Weekly said on Sunday that Israel is the 6th country in the world to have acquired nuclear arms, saying Tel Aviv is currently in possession of between 100 and 300 nuclear warheads.

Former US President Jimmy Carter, aerial footage and decades of recurrent reporting have also confirmed to the existence of Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

Despite the high-profile accusations that Israel has introduced the weapons into the Middle East, Tel Aviv maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity on the matter

The US and its other European allies have so far ignored Israel’s military nuclear activities.

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