Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Egypt Demands IAEA Inspections in Israel
Israel's refusal to permit broad-scope inspections of its atomic sites could endanger the International Atomic Energy Agency's reputation as a reliable enforcer of the nuclear nonproliferation regime, Egypt told IAEA member nations on Monday (see GSN, Sept. 15).
Israel has moved no closer to joining the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty since 1995, when NPT member nations urged all Middle Eastern countries to accede to the pact and pursue the elimination of nuclear weapons from the sector, the Kuwait News Agency quoted Egyptian Energy Minister Hassan Younis as telling delegates to the IAEA General Conference.
In a bid to advance regional arms control dialogues, Arab countries have reportedly agreed not to pursue a resolution at the IAEA conference urging Jerusalem to sign onto the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Similar measures on "Israeli Nuclear Capabilities" were pursued at the 2009 and 2010 meetings; the earlier measure passed, but last year's resolution was narrowly defeated. Israel abides by a longstanding policy of neither confirming nor denying it possesses a nuclear deterrent.
The United States and other Western powers have argued that targeting Israel over its nuclear arms would be likely to undermine efforts to prohibit weapons of mass destruction from the region, according to previous reports.
The Egyptian official, though, called for the Vienna, Austria-based organization to circulate details on Israeli atomic sites suited for supervision to ensure they are not turned toward weapons operations.
This week's IAEA meeting must affirm the U.N. nuclear watchdog's mandate to implement the nonproliferation regime and address atomic dangers in the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere, Younis said. To that end, Egypt has proposed a measure on implementing IAEA inspections in the Middle East with a goal of achieving comprehensive accession to the treaty, he said.
Younis voiced a desire for progress at an IAEA meeting slated for November on regional nuclear-weapon bans, as well as a conference planned for 2012 on creating a WMD-free zone in the Middle East (Kuwait News Agency, Sept. 20).
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