U.N. nuclear agency seeks rare Mideast nuclear talks

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 02, 2011 7:38 AM
U.N. nuclear agency seeks rare Mideast nuclear talks

VIENNA (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear agency has invited countries including Israel and Arab states to attend rare talks later this year about the volatile Middle East and efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons, a document showed on Friday.

Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in the report made available to Reuters that he had written to all IAEA member states inviting them to take part in a November 21-22 forum in Vienna.

Participants would debate lessons learnt and relevant experience for the Middle East from the establishment of nuclear weapons-free zones in other parts of the world, such as in Africa and Latin America.

Israel and some Arab states have previously signalled readiness to take part in such a meeting, regarded as a way to start a dialogue and help build badly needed confidence in the region, diplomats say.

Arab states criticise Israel over its assumed nuclear arsenal, while Israel and the United States see Iran as the region's main proliferation threat.

(Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Mark Heinrich)