Al Jarman expresses support for Obama's nuclear-free vision

The UAE Ambassador to the UN has spoken out in support of Barack Obama's efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

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NEW YORK // The UAE Ambassador to the UN has spoken out in support of Barack Obama's efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Speaking on Thursday at the start of disarmament debates at UN headquarters, Ahmed al Jarman expressed his desire for a world free from weapons of mass destruction. He also questioned the nuclear intentions of Iran and Israel, and asserted the peaceful nature of the UAE's own nuclear power project.

Mr Jarman opened his address to the UN's first committee on disarmament and security by supporting the US president's "historic addresses" at last month's general assembly . "They included firm commitments and assurances on the intention of the United States administration to pursue its new approach for reducing the existing nuclear arsenals with a view to reducing their risks and threats to the peoples of the world and the future of humanity," he said. "The UAE welcomes these positive developments."

The US has already scrapped a defence project in eastern Europe and renewed pressure on Iran and North Korea to halt their suspected weapons projects. Mr al Jarman encouraged more warhead-scrapping by the US and Russia, saying it would "encourage non-nuclear states to abandon their relentless pursuit to acquire these dangerous weapons". He told diplomats that the UAE's own civilian nuclear programme was "an optimal model" for countries wishing to harness atomic energy while securing approval from the international community.

UAE Officials are finalising a nuclear technology-sharing deal with the US and planning to build power stations that will become operational in 2017 under the auspices of the UN's watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. "The programme will also be implemented in full transparency and in a manner which does not harm the environment and ensures public safety," the ambassador assured diplomats.

Mr Jarman urged Israel to open its suspect plants to inspectors and called for the "continuation of negotiations" between western nations and Tehran with a view to a "comprehensive peaceful settlement". "The UAE affirms that achievement of peace and stability in the Middle East and the Arab Gulf region cannot be achieved with the continued occupation policies, escalated military confrontations and pursuits to acquire nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction which will definitely lead to creating dangerous security imbalances in the region," he said.