News / Middle East

Iran, North Korea Raise Concerns at NPT Conference

Margaret Besheer

Delegations at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference raised concerns about Iran and North Korea's nuclear programs during the second day of the general debate, saying they provide serious challenges to the treaty's aim of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad garnered much media attention at the opening of the conference on Monday. He was the only head of state in attendance and his government faces new U.N. sanctions for its dubious nuclear program. He gave a long and  defiant speech criticizing the United States and several of its allies, prompting more than a few delegations to walk out of the assembly hall in protest.

On Tuesday, the focus on Iran continued, but with Mr. Ahmadinejad absent. Several countries expressed concerns about whether Tehran's nuclear pursuits are for civilian or military purposes.

German Minister of State Werner Hoyer:

"Iran unfortunately refuses to comply with the international community's demands and rejects its very far-reaching offers of negotiation," he said. "Further sanctions must make it clear to Tehran that this refusal has a price."

The five permanent members of the Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - plus Germany, have been negotiating possible new sanctions.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters that while his country favors dialogue and engagement, he does believe the sanctions discussions are "slowly moving forward."

"I'm reasonably optimistic," he said. "I do believe that everyone else understands and appreciates the principle position of Russia - which is whatever sanctions to be agreed upon at any time in future, they should serve the case of strengthening the regime of nuclear non-proliferation."

France's representative, Eric Danon, also expressed frustration with what he said is Iran's "defiant attitude".

"Together with its partners, France has made a number of far-reaching offers to Iran," said Danon. "But dialogue is not an end in itself; dialogue must produce results."

Danon said Iran has left the international community with no other option but to consider new sanctions.

North Korea's nuclear activities have also raised alarm among its neighbors and other countries.

Pyongyang announced its withdrawal from the NPT in 2003 and subsequently conducted two nuclear tests. South Korean delegate Cho Hyun said the North's nuclear development is one of the most serious challenges to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"The DPRK should demonstrate both a clear commitment as well as concrete actions toward denuclearization," said Hyun. "Furthermore, we urge the DPRK to cease all aggressive and provocative rhetoric and behaviors that may pose a threat to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia."

Japan echoed those concerns, saying North Korea's nuclear tests pose a "grave threat" to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and are "absolutely unacceptable."

Countries speaking at the debate also urged the implementation of a Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone in the Middle East, as laid out in a 1995 resolution, and welcomed such zones in other parts of the world, including Africa and Central Asia.

Review conferences of the NPT have been held every five years since the treaty went into effect in 1970. Delegates from the 189 countries belonging to the treaty will discuss compliance with its three pillars - nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy - during the month long conference.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid