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UN Presses Israel on Nuclear Program

The top United Nations nuclear envoy has held talks with Israeli officials to push their country to be more open about its largely secretive nuclear program.

Yukiya Amano is keeping his visit to Israel low-key. He is due to meet with Israel's Atomic Energy Commission, President Shimon Peres and strategic affairs officials during his two-day visit.

Israel is widely considered to be the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East. But it does not discuss its arsenal, keeping a policy of "nuclear ambiguity."

Israel will not sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, nor will it allow the U.N. nuclear agency to inspect its nuclear facility near the southern city of Dimona.

Israeli officials say they intend to express their concerns to Amano about Iran's advancing nuclear program. They say it is a threat to Israel's existence. Iran says its program is solely for peaceful purposes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not meet with Amon because he plans to go on holiday. Mr. Netanyahu canceled his scheduled meeting with the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency head days ago, saying it conflicted with his vacation.

Iran began loading fuel into the country's first nuclear power plant on Saturday. The plant was built in Russia with assistance by Russian officials. The IAEA oversaw the launch.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.