NEW YORK – Egypt came into the monthlong NPT conference swinging, and hit Israel square on the jaw. Worst of all, a sucker punch seemed to come from Israel’s longtime ally, the United States.
But although the US on Friday signed onto a 28-page final resolution singling out Israel and pressing it to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, backroom diplomacy – with an eye on Iran – forced America’s hand. Ultimately, the American signature reflects the US desire to reach an agreement on Iran; unlike his predecessor, President Obama’s diplomatic strategy favors international consensus, which failed at the last two NPT review conferences, held in 2005 and 2000.
“The greatest threat to proliferation in the Middle East and to the NPT is Iran’s failure to live up to its NPT obligations,” Obama said in a statement on Friday night. “Today’s efforts will only strengthen the NPT as a critical part of our efforts to ensure that all nations meet their NPT obligations or face consequences.”
Huddled at the United Nations during the month of May, American diplomats walked a narrow tightrope, seeking a tougher stance against Iran, even as Egypt and other Arab states pushed for the implementation of a 1995 resolution that would establish a nuclear-free Middle East.
Egypt came into the conference ready with a proposal to hold an international conference within the next year that would jump-start negotiations toward a weapons-free zone. The confe… >>>