Saudi Arabia calls for nuclear weapon-free Middle East

Saudi Arabia calls for nuclear weapon-free Middle East
Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dr. Khaled Manzlawiy speaks at the UN. (SPA)
Updated 01 May 2019

Saudi Arabia calls for nuclear weapon-free Middle East

Saudi Arabia calls for nuclear weapon-free Middle East
  • Israel has not signed key non-proliferation treaty
  • Manzlawiy called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to sign the treaty and for Iran to sign the convention on nuclear safety

NEW YORK: The Kingdom is concerned about a lack of commitment toward establishing a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Saudi Arabia’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, Dr. Khaled Manzlawiy, was speaking at the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) held at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York.
He told the committee that Israel had yet to sign the NPT, which calls for nuclear disarmament and stresses the commitment of nuclear power states to share their peaceful technologies with abiding member states.
He said all Israel’s installations must come under the regime of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as outlined in UN Security Council resolutions.
He also expressed Saudi Arabia’s concerns about Iranian reactors, particularly the threat posed by the Bushehr nuclear power plant located several hundred miles from the Arabian Gulf.
Manzlawiy called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to sign the treaty and for Iran to sign the convention on nuclear safety.
“Security and stability in the region does not come through weapons of mass destruction, but can be achieved through cooperation and consultation among various countries, the quest for development and progress, and avoiding the race to own such destructive weapons.”
Many countries agreed with the NPT and its goals of disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, he added, but the NPT’s objectives could not be achieved if the treaty was not universal.
Manzlawiy said the Kingdom was among the first countries to accede to the NPT, and the IAEA’s comprehensive safeguards agreement, out of its belief that global security and peace could not be achieved while such weapons existed.
Last September a senior minister told the IAEA that Saudi Arabia’s atomic energy program was fundamental for developing a sustainable energy sector.
The Kingdom wants to build as many as 16 nuclear reactors over the next 25 years at a cost of more than $80 billion. The plan is to provide 15 percent of the country’s power from nuclear energy by 2032.
Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the atomic reactor projects were part of the Vision 2030 plan to diversify its energy sources to nuclear and renewables.
The program “abides by all international treaties and conventions and best practices, adhering to the highest standards of safety, security and transparency,” he told the IAEA annual conference in Vienna.