Finland will host the conference to be held next year on the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, it was announced today at the United Nations.
In addition, Jaakko Laajava, Under-Secretary of State in Finland’s foreign ministry, has been appointed as the facilitator for the 2012 conference.
The announcement was made in a joint press statement issued by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – the co-sponsors of a 1995 resolution proposing a Middle East free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction – in consultation with States of the region.
The May 2010 review meeting of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – which takes place every five years – called for a UN-sponsored conference in 2012 to establish a nuclear-free Middle East to be attended by all States in the region.
Ahead of the 2010 meeting, Mr. Ban had called for the number of nuclear-weapon-free zones to multiply and ultimately span the globe. “My goal – our goal – is to make the whole world a nuclear-weapon-free zone,” he stated, calling such zones the “success stories of the disarmament movement.”
Currently, there are five such zones: Latin America and the Caribbean; the South Pacific; South-East Asia; Central Asia; and Africa.