Russia ready to host Mideast nuclear disarmament talks: Lavrov

AFP , Wednesday 3 Dec 2014

Moscow is ready to host a conference on ridding the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Sudan on Wednesday.

"There should be a conference to remove weapons of mass destruction and put in place an agreement to make the Middle East a region free of nuclear weapons," Lavrov said before attending a forum on cooperation between Russia and the Arab League.

"I think it is possible for us to hold the conference in the near future," he added, without elaborating.

Last month, Lavrov took part in talks in Vienna aimed at reaching an agreement on Iran's disputed nuclear programme.

Iran and world powers failed to find a solution in five days of talks over Iran's nuclear programme, which Western countries charge is aimed at developing weapons.

Iran says it is for peaceful purposes only.

Israel is the Middle East's sole, if undeclared, nuclear power.

During his visit to Khartoum, Lavrov also met his Sudanese counterpart Ali Karti and President Omar al-Bashir.

Earlier on Wednesday, he announced that Russia would seek to develop its military ties with internationally isolated Sudan, but "in a way that will not disturb the balance of power in the region".

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