It is always better to talk peace than act on war. Such is what has taken place in Brussels where representatives from Israel, Iran, 10 Arab states, and the United States have been discussing the possibility of holding a UN-sponsored conference in Helsinki, in December, whose ultimate goal would be establishing a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.
An article in The Guardian says:
A handful of officials from both Israel and Iran are involved in the two-day event, ostensibly in their capacity as private citizens, in what was billed as an academic seminar.But the delegations are led by senior officials and have the permission of their respective governments to take part in an informal discussion with representatives from about 10 Arab states, US officials and European moderators to explore the possibility of holding a UN-sponsored conference on establishing a WMD-free zone in the Middle East.
The Israeli team is led by Jeremy Issacharoff, an ambassador for strategic affairs at the foreign ministry; the chief Iranian representative is Ali Asghar Soltanieh, the country's long-serving ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. Also taking part is Jaakko Laajava, the Finnish diplomat tasked by the UN secretary general to organise the planned conference in Helsinki. In contrast to the ever-worsening sabre-rattling over the Iranian nuclear programme, the mood at the meeting, convened by the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium, was described by one participant as "respectful and positive".
Mark Fitzpatrick, a non-proliferation expert from the International Institute for Strategic Studies and former state department official, said "there were no fireworks and no denunciations" at the conference. That marks an improvement over a similar event held last year, when the tone was described as mutual finger-wagging. However, it was unclear from the meeting whether the Helsinki conference would go ahead on schedule in December.Let's hope that it does; this is the first piece of good news to emanate from the Middle East in a long while. Start with the Middle East and extend the ban to all nations. Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological weapons, have no useful purpose; they should be banned outright—Anywhere & Everywhere.
You can read the rest of the article at [The Guardian]