Thursday, 10 June 2010

IAEA board focuses on Israeli 'nukes'

Arab nations have censured Israel at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board meeting, for preventing the Middle East from becoming a nuclear-free region.

In the IAEA board session on Thursday, which addressed Israel's nuclear issue for the first time since 1991, Arab states called on the regime to come clean about its nuclear capabilities and allow international investigations, DPA reported.

"Israel continues to defy the international community, through its continued refusal to accede to the treaty on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons," Arab countries said in a statement.

Israel is widely believed to be the only possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the Middle East. The regime also refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"We cannot fail but also point out that the concern of the Israeli nuclear danger is reinforced by Israel's aggressive policies towards Arab countries, threatening peace and security in the region."

Over the past years, the IAEA board had put its focus on Iran. However, Arab states finally succeeded to bring the Israeli nuclear weapons program into the spotlight, despite strong opposition from Tel Aviv's Western allies, especially the United States.

In reaction to the move, Tel Aviv issued a statement, criticizing the Arab states for not recognizing Israel.

Meanwhile, the US and the European Union expressed concern over the examination of Israel's case at the IAEA board.

"Singling out Israel for censure is in our view both counterproductive and inappropriate," Glyn Davies, the US ambassador to the IAEA, said.

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