Israel displayed arrogance on arms control issues in a statement this week to the International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference, Egypt told the body yesterday (see GSN, Sept. 22; Agence France-Presse/Google News, Sept. 22).
Egypt and other Arab countries are set at the 151-nation meeting to propose a nonbinding resolution demanding that Jerusalem accede to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. A vote could take place today or tomorrow on the measure, Haaretz reported. In 2009, Arab states saw a similar resolution narrowly approved by the IAEA General Conference (Yossi Melman, Haaretz, Sept. 22).
Israeli Atomic Energy Organization Director General Shaul Chorev said Tuesday that Cairo is conducting a "harmful political campaign" and targeting Jerusalem rather than seeking "meaningful discussion of regional security in the Middle East," Agence France-Presse reported.
Chorev also expressed doubt over Egypt's stated commitment to pursuing a Middle East free of nuclear weapons. Israel is widely believed to possess the only nuclear arms in the Middle East, though it has for decades maintained a policy of neither confirming nor denying its arsenal.
"The only purpose that the remarks by the representative of Israel has served was to demonstrate to this body the full meaning of the word 'chutzpah,'" Egyptian diplomat Aly Omar Sirry said, referring to a Hebrew term with connotations of arrogance.
"The question that begs for an answer is: what exactly ... is Israel restraining itself from doing," Sirry said, adding that Jerusalem "is widely known to pay no more than lip service to the objective of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East."
"Egypt's consistent efforts, as well as the concrete steps it has take over the years and continues to take including in this body are extensively and well documented," the official said (AFP).