As the second week of NPT discussions began today in Geneva, Switzerland and Egypt in a “surprise” move announced that they were no longer going to take part in the discussions, citing “hypocrisy” as it relates to the State of Israel, a non-signer of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty( NPT), a treaty designed to prevent the spread of nuclear arms in the world.
In a speech on the first day of the NPT conference on April 22, former Egyptian Ambassador to Geneva Hisham Badr said, “Egypt and many Arab countries have joined the NPT with the understanding that this would lead to a Middle East completely free of nuclear weapons.”
“However, more than 30 years later, one country in the Middle East, namely Israel, remains outside the NPT,” he said. Israel has never confirmed, nor denied, that it is in possession of nuclear weapons but South Africa has given up its nuclear arsenal voluntarily and maintains that they came into their possession through a joint nuclear program with Israel.
Talk about hypocrisy. A “Middle East completely free of nuclear weapons?” And this statement was made at the same time that Egyptian ministers are visiting Tehran to converse on the subject of Syria?
Iran, of course, maintains that its nuclear ambitions are “peaceful” and simply for the production of energy. Really? The scarier question remains whether or not Egypt will use this withdrawal from talks to go one further, and simply withdraw its name from the treaty. As I made quite clear last week in a piece on the Muslim Brotherhoood, to borrow from Henry Rollins, “I trust them just as far as I can throw them off a roof.” My faith in the Muslim Brotherhood is non-existent, with good reason.
Cairo said it was pulling out of the talks “to send a strong message of non-acceptance of the continued lack of seriousness in dealing with the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.”
“We cannot continue waiting forever for the implementation of this resolution,” Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency MENA. Cairo called on member states and international bodies “to bear responsibility for implementing legitimate international resolutions.”
Is my geography off these days? It’s largely believed that Saudi Arabia is in the process of building a nuclear weapon, Iraq would have one if not for the early 80’s efforts of the Israeli Air Force and Iran is still in the Middle East – isn’t it?