The United States has announced that a planned international conference on a Middle East without weapons of mass destruction will not be held.
A State Department statement said the conference "cannot be convened because of present conditions" in the Middle East.
The statement said Washington sees a persistent “deep conceptual gap” in the region “on approaches toward regional security and arms control arrangements."
It added that "outside states" cannot "dictate" an outcome to these questions.
The conference, which was due to be held in Finland next month, was recommended in the 2010 review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Issues complicating the holding of the conference include tensions over the nuclear arsenal of U.S. ally Israel, and the international standoff over Iran’s development of technology that could be used in nuclear arms.