Mideast nuke talks called off

Last updated 09:14 11/11/2012

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Diplomats say proposed high-level talks between Israel and its Muslim neighbours on a Mideast free of weapons of mass destruction have been called off.

The diplomats said the US, one of the organisers, would likely make a formal announcement soon, stating that with tensions in the region high, "the time was not opportune" for such a gathering.

The meeting, to be held in Helsinki by year's end, was on shaky ground since it was agreed to in 2010 by the 189 member nations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

The decision to scrap it cast doubt on the significance of the NPT conference and its attempts every five years to advance nonproliferation.

The diplomats demanded anonymity overnight (NZ time) because they were not authorised to divulge the cancellation ahead of the formal announcement.

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- AP

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