UNITED NATIONS - The 189 member nations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty on Friday adopted a detailed plan of small steps down a long road toward nuclear disarmament, including a sharply debated proposal to move toward banning doomsday arms from the Middle East.
The 28-page final declaration was approved by consensus on the last day of the monthlong conference, convened every five years to review and advance the objectives of the 40-year-old treaty.
Under its action plan, the five recognized nuclear-weapon states - the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China - commit to speed up arms reductions, take other steps to diminish the importance of atomic weapons and report back on progress by 2014.
The final document also calls for convening a conference in 2012 "on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction."
This Arab idea of a WMD-free zone is designed to pressure Israel to give up its undeclared nuclear arsenal. Despite the decision here, U.S. officials questioned whether Israel could be persuaded to attend the conference.
Under the 1970 treaty, nations without nuclear weapons committed not to acquire them; those with them committed to move toward their elimination; and all endorsed everyone's right to develop peaceful nuclear energy. For the first time at an NPT review, the final declaration laid out complex action plans for all three of the treaty's "pillars."