Currently, Qatar has over 35 technical cooperation projects with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Qatar has always maintained its backing of the efforts and initiatives directed towards promoting the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, the country’s Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ahmad bin Hassen Al Hammadi stressed on Monday.
Some of the efforts highlighted were those that fall within the frameworks of the United Nations, or other regional and international efforts such as those of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Arab League, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), among others.
The Gulf country has always emphasised the prominence of a joint worldwide obligation mandated by international agreements and resolutions, including the pertinent Security Council resolutions, Qatar News Agency reported.
Speaking at the first Arab symposium on disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation held in Doha, the top Qatari official also reiterated the serious ramifications that threaten both international and regional peace and security if efforts to establish the area if they are not made in a timely manner.
He said that the symposium’s objectives were integral to Qatar’s efforts to mobilise action in support of the total prohibition of nuclear weapons based on international law and international humanitarian law, especially removing all weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and nuclear ones from the Middle East.
Al Hammadi emphasised that Doha fully complies with its obligations under those treaties because of its firm belief in working with all “peace-loving nations” to create a world free of nuclear weapons and other WMDs, as well as its accession to the treaties prohibiting or restricting specific types of conventional weapons.
He further noted that Qatar has acceded to the treaties related to the elimination of WMD, the prohibition of nuclear testing, and non-proliferation.
The Qatari official also called attention to his country’s backing of the resolution passed by the UN General Assembly in preparation for the conclusion of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which opened up new legal avenues for the total and complete ban of nuclear weapons.
Pointing out some of the achievements made during the conference, Al Hammadi said the coordination of combined efforts of the Arab States and the Arab League office, and the inclusion of the stances in a concise draft final document in order to maintain and expand upon the successes made in past review conferences is crucial.
He further stressed that the draft paper had passages on a variety of concepts and ‘optimistic outlooks’ that address the present and upcoming problems facing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The draft’s consensual paragraphs include the following: establishing a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East; inviting Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty final draft as a non-nuclear state without further delay; and affirming that the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference (NPTREC) on the Middle East will remain valid until its implementation, the official continued.
In early August, Qatar reiterated its calls for a nuclear-free Middle East, highlighting the importance of nuclear-free zones in advancing the non-proliferation system and achieving complete nuclear disarmament.
Foreign Ministry official Ali Khalfan Al Mansouri noted that five nuclear-weapon-free zones have been established over the past two decades during Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty meeting.
These include the commitment of the signatories not to possess nuclear weapons and to sign comprehensive safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
These zones have contributed to enhancing stability in the regions where they have been established and have also brought the treaty closer to its ultimate goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, he noted.
However, Al Mansouri expressed Qatar’s regret that the Middle East region remains far from being a nuclear-free region due to Israel’s intransigence. To date, Israel is the only nuclear power in the region and has refused to ratify the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
The zionist state also refuses to submit its nuclear facilities to the IAEA safeguards system and seeks to obstruct any serious initial negotiations to achieve the goal of establishing the region, the official added.
Last year, Qatar called on Israel to join the Middle Eastern Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to contain the global proliferation of nuclear weapons and eliminate the threat of a “nuclear war” in the region.
At the time, Qatar’s envoy to Austria and Permanent Representative to the United Nations and International Organisations in Vienna Sultan bin Salmeen Al Mansouri said the Zionist regime is the only state that refuses to join the treaty which aims to ‘free’ the Middle East of nuclear weapons as part of international resolutions to stabilise the area.
The NPT is the centrepiece of global efforts to inhibit the spread of nuclear weapons, including three elements, namely non-proliferation, disarmament, and peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Israel owns nuclear weapons. However its refusal to join the treaty stipulates that it will not be subject to inspections nor does it risk being sanctioned by the United Nations’ IAEA.
The Qatari official said Doha urges Tel Aviv to cooperate with the IAEA and open its nuclear facilities and atomic reactors to inspection.
Although the Israeli regime persists to reject claims of its development of nuclear weapons at its facility, or even discloe the amount it already possesses, former Dimona expert Mordechai Vanunu revealed pictures of its nuclear warheads to the media in the mid-1980s.
In 2003, it was estimated that “Israel” possessed between 100 to 200 nuclear warheads. Experts anticipate that the numbers have doubled by now.
Israel possesses a sizeable nuclear arsenal, however, it maintains a policy of nuclear ambiguity.
Israel is not a member of the NPT, which is essentially the most important global treaty on the world’s deadliest weapon .
Iran, although an official signatory of the NPT, has been under incessant Western scrutiny for the latter’s suspicion of the Islamic Republic’s alleged use of its uranium enrichment programme in developing “atomic bombs”.
Tehran insists its use to be designated for energy production.