President Gul to urge intl community to push for a nuclear weapons-free mideast
Echoing earlier urgings by Turkish leaders for the international community to take a consistent approach on the issue, President Abdullah Gul on Monday said he will call for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East when he addresses the UN General Assembly tomorrow. "We would like to see our region free of nuclear weapons," Gul told the Associated Press. "The region should not be under such a threat." Gul has called for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East in the past, but his latest comments come amid deteriorating relations with Israel, following a deadly Israeli flotilla raid in May. Israel is believed to be the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East but has never confirmed or denied it. Gul's remarks are expected to antagonize the United States, since Washington sees any move to raise the issue of Israel's nuclear arsenal as potentially destabilizing at a time of renewed Israel-Palestinian peace talks.