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

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora