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Ambassador Laajava confident there can be progress on Middle East WMD-free zone
Ambassador Jaakko Laajava – Finnish Under-Secretary of State and facilitator for the 2012 conference on the proposed Middle East Zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction – spoke today of his continued optimism for the conference to occur in 2012. Speaking in an interview with UNA-UK on whether there was hope that the proposed conference would take place as scheduled, Ambassador Laajava commented that “the political environment is difficult, but certainly the commitment is there which makes me pretty confident we can make progress.” He continued by iterating that Finland is ready to host the conference anytime in 2012.
Many see commitment by Israel and Iran as crucial in progressing discussion on the proposed Zone, and the Ambassador commented that “The position of a number of countries is still open, but all countries are taking it very seriously.”
Ambassador Laajava was also in London to speak in the Houses of Parliament alongside Mark Fitzpatrick (International Institute of Strategic Studies) at a meeting jointly hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Groups on the United Nations and on Global Security and Non-proliferation, where Mr Fitzpatrick’s UNA-UK-commissioned paper on the Zone was officially launched. Chaired by former UN ambassador Lord Hannay of Chiswick, the meeting was well-attended by parliamentarians and staff from a number of embassies and high commissions, as well as members of the NGO community.