RSS Feeds

Russia, US, Egypt, others urge nuke-free Mideast

Thursday - 4/25/2013, 2:28pm  ET

GENEVA (AP) -- Russian, U.S., Egyptian and Arab League diplomats are pushing for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, a goal they admit will be tough to reach.

On the sidelines Thursday of nuclear talks in Geneva, the diplomats debated a plan proposed by Moscow think-tank PIR Center.

It includes steps such as Mideast nations committing not to attack one other, allowing the U.N. nuclear agency to safeguard nuclear facilities, and creating a new regional body for nuclear cooperation.

U.S. diplomat Thomas Countryman called the idea ambitious. But he and the Arab League's Wael Al-Assad cited Iran's disputed nuclear program -- which Tehran insists is peaceful -- as a major stumbling block.

Russian diplomat Mikhail Ulyanov also said any accord depends on Israel, which is believed to have atomic weapons but hasn't confirmed that.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.