News / Middle East

Israel Warns Arabs Against 'Bashing' at UN Nuclear Meeting

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks, in Jerusalem, June 2013.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks, in Jerusalem, June 2013.
Reuters
— Arab diplomats signaled on Tuesday they would seek to step up pressure on Israel over its assumed nuclear arsenal, but the Jewish state said any attempt to “bash” it would be counterproductive.

Arab countries, angry at the lack of movement in efforts to move toward a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, have served notice they plan to target Israel for criticism at the U.N. atomic agency's annual member state gathering in September.

“We need to raise our frustration, we need to raise our concern about this issue,” said one Arab envoy in Vienna, where the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is based, said.

Israel's ambassador to the IAEA, Ehud Azoulay, told Reuters that Arab states “are taking a counterproductive route by raising this issue... and trying to bash Israel”.

Arab states give notice

In a letter to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, posted on the U.N. agency's web site, 18 Arab member states asked for “Israeli nuclear capabilities” to be included as an agenda item of the Sept. 16-20 gathering in the Austrian capital.

The IAEA meeting “must take appropriate measures to ensure that Israel places all its nuclear installations under agency safeguards and accedes to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” the letter, dated in June, said.

Arab countries are considering putting forward a non-binding but symbolically important resolution on the issue after refraining from doing so at the previous two annual gatherings of the IAEA's 159 member countries, Arab diplomats said.

Such a move would likely draw a rebuke from the United States and its Western allies, which argue that singling out Israel for blame could undermine broader steps aimed at banning weapons of mass destruction in the volatile region.

Israel is widely believed to possess the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, drawing Arab and Iranian condemnation. It is the only regional country outside the global Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to prevent the spread of atomic arms.

Israel and the United States regard Iran as the world's main proliferation threat, accusing Tehran of covertly seeking a nuclear arms capability, something the Islamic state denies.

Forging Mideast peace

An Egyptian plan for an international meeting to lay the groundwork for creating a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction was agreed at an NPT review conference in 2010.

But the United States said late last year that the conference would not occur as planned in December 2012 and did not make clear when, or whether, it would take place. The United States, Britain and Russia are co-sponsors of the meeting.

“We are disappointed but we are still eager to convene the conference,” the Arab envoy said.

U.S. and Israeli officials have said a nuclear arms-free zone in the Middle East could not be a reality until there was broad Arab-Israeli peace, and Iran curbed its nuclear program.

Israel's Azoulay said “the atmosphere in the Middle East” was not conducive to such a conference now. “You see what is happening in Syria, in Libya, in Iran, now in Egypt as well,” he said, alluding to instability and bloodshed around the region.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 10, 2013 8:24 AM
Azoulay's fear is jointly shared here. You need to be ready at all times if you live in the midst of barbaric men-slayers that have little or no conscience. While Israel is not any better with the Arabs' relationships, it is important to have stability and cool-headedness to be sure of its own security. Iran must drop the idea of nuclear capability foremost, and the Arabs must stop thinking Israel should be wiped out of world map. Then, the Arabs should agree either to take back their citizens who make up the Palestinians in Gaza, or agree to resettle or relocate them into the Palestinian occupied area in the West Bank. For it is wrong to have a deadly enemy like the Palestine people, who were created for the destruction of Israel, striding Israel on two borders. That's too dangerous. Israel is a peaceful people and will be open with its neighbors when they too are ready to show transparency.


by: Igor from: Russia
July 10, 2013 1:29 AM
Do you know why Israel can deny its own obligations of a nuclear weapon owner whereas it is always trying to prevent other arabs nations from possessing such weapon? Because it is given a green light from the US and its allies. So the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is no longer needed in such an unfair play.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid