First Published: 2010-06-10

 
Israel under fire at IAEA meeting
 

Arab states have succeeded in having item entitled ‘Israeli nuclear capabilities’ formally included on meeting agenda.

 

Middle East Online

Davies went to Israel's defence



VIENNA - Arab states criticized Israel Thursday at a meeting of the UN atomic watchdog, calling on the Jewish state to come clean about its nuclear capability and open up to international scrutiny.

Arab countries had succeeded -- despite objections by western states and the United States in particular -- in having an item entitled "Israeli nuclear capabilities" formally included on the agenda of a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency here.

It was the first time since 1991 that the issue has been included for discussion by the IAEA's 35-member board.

Israel, a member of the IAEA but not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is widely believed to be the only nuclear power in the Middle East, with around 200 warheads, but has maintained a policy of deliberate ambiguity about its capabilities since the mid-1960s.

Speaking on behalf of the Arab group, Sudan's ambassador to the IAEA Mahmoud El-Amin told the closed-door session that Israel was a "nuclear danger".

And that danger was "reinforced by Israel's aggressive policies towards the Arab countries, threatening peace and security in the region," as seen in the recent Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, El-Amin said.

Iranian ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh similarly described "Israel's nuclear capability a serious threat to the health, security and prosperity of the world, because the Israeli regime refuses to be bound by any international commitments or moral values."

It was Arab countries that tabled a resolution at the IAEA's general conference last September, passed with a narrow majority, urging Israel to join the NPT.

A similar resolution was passed at last month's NPT Review Conference in New York, as well as one calling for a regional conference in 2012 to advance the goal of a nuclear-free Middle East.

But Israel has denounced the resolution as "deeply flawed and hypocritical" because it "ignores the realities of the Middle East and the real threats facing the region and the entire world."

At the IAEA on Thursday, US envoy Glyn Davies described the inclusion of the Israel issue at the IAEA's regular June board meeting as "untimely and uncalled-for."

It was "distracting, divisive, pre-empting and prejudicial" to the 2012 conference, Davies told reporters.

"In order for that conference to succeed, all of the parties in the region need to come together voluntarily. By talking about this here in Vienna, we don't help that process. In fact, what we do is undercut it."

Establishing a nuclear-free Middle East was "not going to happen if the countries in the region engage in name-calling," Davies said.

The IAEA should talk about more pressing matters, such as Iran, which was currently the biggest proliferation threat, he said.

"These are countries that are in violation of ... their responsibilities to the IAEA and as signatories of the NPT. That's the business of the IAEA and that's what we ought to be talking about," Davies said.

 

Tillerson pushes to undercut Iran at landmark Saudi, Iraq meeting

US-backed forces capture key Syria oil field

UN ends Libya talks with no progress made

Gulf share values plummet

Greening the Camps brings food and hope to refugees

No clear US strategy in Syria after Raqqa liberation

More than half of Austrians vote for anti-immigration party

Washington sees potential Hezbollah threat in the US

Cairo killing sparks security concerns among Copts

Iraq PM arrives in Saudi to upgrade ties

35 Egyptian police killed in Islamist ambush

Morocco recalls Algeria envoy over 'hashish money' jibe

Ceremony marks 75 years since WWII Battle of El Alamein

Somalia attack death toll rises to 358

Long road ahead for families of jailed Morocco protesters

How Raqa recapture affects complex Syrian war

Israel hits Syrian artillery after Golan fire

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike

Yemen rebel youth minister urges children to join war

Iran's Guards show no intention of curbing activities in Mideast

EU will cut some money for Turkey as ties sour

Iraqi workers return to oil fields retaken from Kurds

Kurdish disarray shows resurgence of Iraq's army

Iranian military chief visits frontline near Syria's Aleppo

Iraq army takes last Kurd-held area of Kirkuk province

Ancient Turkish town set to vanish forever under floodwaters

Turkey issues arrest warrants for 110 people over Gulen links

Lebanon approves first budget since 2005

Tillerson does not expect Gulf crisis to be resolved soon

Moscow seeks to boost its influence in Kurdistan through oil

Hamas calls US unity comments ‘blatant interference’

OPEC chief pleased with oil market rebalancing

Turkish police detain leading civil society figure

G7, tech giants meet to tackle terror online

Iraq’s Kurdish regional government open to Baghdad talks

Tensions flare among Yemen's rebels

Baghdad court issues arrest warrant for Iraqi Kurd VP

Erdogan, Nigerian counterpart to ramp up cooperation

Russian medics operate on Yemen's Saleh despite embargo

Baghdad condemns oil deal between Russia’s Rosneft, Kurds

Power shifts again in Iraq's multi-ethnic Kirkuk