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. Blix hits out over N Korea, Iran nuclear diplomacy
LONDON, Nov 27 (AFP) Nov 27, 2006
Negotiations with North Korea and Iran on their nuclear programmes would be easier if the countries urging restraint were themselves moving towards disarmament, ex-United Nations chief weapons inspector Hans Blix said Monday.

Blix said that the world's governments were "in a phase of rearmament", adding that nuclear weapons have regained a "central place" in the defence strategies of the countries which have them.

Commitments to disarmament such as the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which has not been ratified by the United States or China, are being "ignored", making diplomatic solutions much harder, he added.

"The negotiations with North Korea and Iran would not be easy under any circumstance, but they might be somewhat less difficult if the nuclear weapon states participating could show that they themselves were actively striving for and leading the world towards nuclear disarmament," Blix said.

The Swede was charged with searching for weapons of mass destruction leading up to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and was opposed to military intervention.

He is now chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC), an independent body which works to limit the dangers posed by WMD.

In a speech in London, he added that countries which do not have nuclear weapons harbour a "strong feeling of frustration, even of being cheated" because states which have them are talking about developing new weapons rather than looking at alternatives.

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