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.
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 Obama: Action on Climate Change 'Economic, Security Imperative'

President spoke to reporters on sidelines of UN Climate Summit outside Paris, where leaders are working to agree on binding measures

IMF Bets on China’s Resolve to Reform

IMF announcement already raising questions about just how much Beijing is committed to such reforms

What Happened When I Landed in Antarctica

Refael Klein chronicles what it's like to visit one of the coldest, most desolate places on Earth

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs