The head of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference has emphasised the need for continuing efforts towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu stressed that this needs a comprehensive approach, with measures that ensure equality, non-discrimination and balance.
In a speech to a non-proliferation forum held in Cairo on 19th October, the OIC Secretary General rejected the “security” justifications used by a number of nuclear-armed countries while they push for non-proliferation elsewhere.
Professor Ihsanoglu said that Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons poses a serious challenge to the security of neighbouring countries and constitutes a threat to regional and international peace and security. “Israel should disarm its nuclear weapons and join the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Comprehensive Safeguards System as a condition for achieving non-proliferation objectives in the Middle East,” he said.
He spoke to the international community about ensuring effective follow-up of the implementation of the UN General Assembly’s resolutions and non-proliferation conferences for the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. Such a zone will, he said, complement peace efforts in the region.
According to Prof. Ihsanoglu, the development of nuclear power for peaceful purposes is a right of all countries; the OIC, he said, has a major interest in supporting its members’ use of nuclear energy for social and economic development purposes. In this context, he urged a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.
The three day non-proliferation forum has been organised by the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs in co-operation with the Arab Institute for Security Studies in Jordan.