Finland: Nuclear talks planned
The United Nations named Finland to host a sensitive conference in 2012 on making the Middle East free of nuclear arms and weapons of mass destruction.
A Finnish government envoy will also lead international efforts to persuade archrivals Iran and Israel to attend the meeting.
Finland’s undersecretary of state for foreign affairs, Jaakko Laajava, faces a “daunting task” of organizing the conference, said Anne Penketh, program director for the British American Security Information Council.
The idea of moving toward a weapons-free Middle East was formally backed at a 2010 meeting on the 1995 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The United States, Russia and Britain were the main sponsors. U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon has also made nuclear disarmament one of his top priorities.