U.S. Urges Arab Nations to Drop IAEA Resolution on Israel

The Obama administration's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency yesterday pressed Arab nations to drop a proposal demanding that Israel accede to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, arguing the measure could endanger a planned 2012 meeting on establishing a WMD-free zone in the Middle East, Reuters reported (see GSN, Sept. 10).

The resolution, slated for consideration at next week's IAEA General Assembly meeting, would likely be comparable to a nonbinding measure floated by Arab states and adopted narrowly by the nuclear body in 2009. Jerusalem, which has neither confirmed nor denied possessing nuclear weapons, denounced the 2009 measure, contending it was endorsed by powers that did not recognize the Israeli state.

"We need to send a positive impulse to that broader [Middle East] peace process, not a negative one," U.S. Ambassador Glyn Davies said in Vienna, where the U.N. nuclear watchdog's 35-nation governing board is meeting this week.

The 2012 summit would not take place if countries continued to "bludgeon" one potential participant, Davies said in reference to Israel.

"In order for 2012 to succeed all countries have to show up ... right now there is one country that has very little incentive to do that because of the way they are being made a pariah in this process," the ambassador said.

"We have been working with the Arab League but also other partners to urge them to withdraw the Israeli nuclear capabilities resolution to spare the (IAEA assembly meeting) another fight," he said.

The United States and Israel both see Iran, another supporter of the proposed IAEA resolution, as the primary nuclear threat in the Middle East (see related GSN story, today).

Israel was initially concerned by the Obama administration's endorsement of the proposed 2012 meeting at the NPT review conference in May, but Washington has since sought to assuage Jerusalem's fear that it could be targeted specifically at the event (see GSN, July 7; Fredrik Dahl, Reuters, Sept. 13).

September 14, 2010
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The Obama administration's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency yesterday pressed Arab nations to drop a proposal demanding that Israel accede to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, arguing the measure could endanger a planned 2012 meeting on establishing a WMD-free zone in the Middle East, Reuters reported (see GSN, Sept. 10).

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