In a possible first step toward nuclear disarmament, all 189 signatories of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty agreed for the first time to work toward arms reduction and possibly create a nuclear-free Middle East. Five nuclear states—the U.S., China, Russia, France and Britain—will speed up arms reduction, and report back their progress by 2012. U.S. Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher said this agreement “advances President’s Obama vision” of a nuclear-free world, despite initial objections to it because it specifically singles out Israel—a clause Tauscher said she “deeply regrets.” Israeli officials did not participate in this agreement, since the country has refused to acknowledge its nuclear capabilities. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Obama in Washington on Monday.
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