Egyptian official outlines plan for Middle East WMD-free zone

Ambassador and Chairman of the Egyptian Council of Foreign Affairs Mohammed Shaker recently drafted a preliminary framework for an agreement that could establish a weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the Middle East.

The paper outlines specific weapons to be banned, the need for a regional verification organization and security assurances from participating members, the National reports.

"I believe that the time has come to think aloud about a real and vibrant zone and identify the challenges and opportunities ahead," Shaker said, according to the National. "I would like to highlight technical elements of the work ahead as a means of providing confidence to all states and initiating a meaningful dialogue on regional security."

The paper, drafted in November, includes members of the Arab League, Israel and Iran.

"Without the presence of Israel and Iran it would not be possible to reach such an arrangement in the Middle East," Shaker said, the Nationalreports.

Countries that have signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons would be asked for security assurances under Shaker's plan, including a guarantee that non-nuclear states would be safe from attack.

"A positive security assurance would be a guarantee that nuclear weapon states will come to the aid of non-nuclear weapon states if they are attacked by another nuclear weapon state," Shaker said, according to the National.