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US-UAE hold talks on combating trade in WMD

posted on 02/10/2005: 600 views

The US and the UAE yesterday held discussions on expanding joint efforts to combat trade and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and moves are underway to initiate joint programmes in this connection, Robert Joseph, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security said.

Joseph, who is on a visit to the UAE , told a press conference in Abu Dhabi yesterday that he had a series of productive discussions with senior UAE officials about expanding joint efforts to combat trade in WMD and measures to counter terrorism.

"The UAE Government has made it clear that it would take concrete steps in this connection. Among the joint US-UAE initiatives being planned are the container security initiative and the mega port initiative which involves screening of cargo to detect radio active materials. The first of these programmes is moving forward and the second is in the early stage", he said. Other related initiatives include use of financial tools and better law enforcement measures including information sharing, he said.

The US has taken up similar programmes with many other countries as part of an international effort to stop trade and curb proliferation of WMD, he said, admitting that there were obstacles for the proper monitoring of trade in WMD and said that a number of technologies had to be employed along with law enforcement initiatives to curb proliferation.

Discussions were also held on the IAEA resolution on Iran, he said. The US official stressed that the US was seriously pursuing the diplomatic option in the cases of both Iran and North Korea.

With North Korea, the US is working within the confines of the six party talks, he said. With regard to Iran, the US hoped to get Iran to re-engage in negotiations and encourage it through incentives not to move forward with its nuclear programme, he said. "There are difficult challenges in both cases, but we want diplomacy to work." he reiterated.

On concerns voiced by Gulf countries on any potential nuclear threats posed by Israel, Joseph said: "We support a nuclear free Middle East." However, he declined to comment in detail on Iraq, but said that everyone was aware of the situation in the war torn country. "Progress has been made and we hope it will be resolved sooner than later." (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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