Saudi U.N. delegation calls for Mideast nuclear-free zone

March 30, 2010

Ambassador Khalid Al-Nafisee, the Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, declared in a statement before the U.N. Disarmament Commission today that Saudi Arabia is “fully committed to the principles of disarmament designated by the international community” and called for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. “There is no other solution to achieve a secured and dignified life for future generations but to strengthen international peace and security through the respect of international treaties and conventions on disarmament and non-proliferation,” he said.

However, Ambassador Al-Nafisee criticized states already in possession of nuclear weapons for their unwillingness to dispose of their own stockpiles. This behavior, he argued, has led to continued competition in both the testing and production of nuclear weapons. “The deviation from the principles of international legitimacy, the provisions of international law and the requirements of international justice has been and remains the main cause of the risks experienced in the Middle East, including the Gulf region, from the dangers of weapons of mass destruction,” the Ambassador stated. “The matter of ignoring the Israeli nuclear program for decades, which does not even invoke the production of electricity but only produces weapons of mass destruction, constitutes an original sin that stimulates some countries to move forward in the development of their nuclear capabilities.” The best solution, he insisted, “is to declare the Middle East, including the Gulf region, a free zone of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, without any exceptions.”

Ambassador Al-Nafisee confirmed the right of every state to harness nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and called upon all parties to “commit themselves to a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.” Furthermore, he stressed the importance of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and urged Iran to “always declares that its nuclear program is designated for peaceful purposes.”