IAEA shoots down resolution condemning Israel's nuclear arsenal

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Israel's Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ehud Azoulay, right, reads a document as he attends the Board of Governors' meeting at the UN atomic agency headquarters in Vienna on 10 September 2013. (Photo: AFP - Alexander Klein)

Published Friday, September 20, 2013

A proposed resolution by Arab states criticizing Israel's atomic arsenal was narrowly defeated Friday at a gathering of the UN nuclear agency.

Following a lively debate at the International Atomic Energy Agency's annual general conference, the measure, supported by Iran, was defeated by 51 votes against and 43 in favor with 32 abstentions.

Israel is widely believed to have nuclear weapons but has never acknowledged it and is not a signatory to the landmark Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

The Jewish state is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency but is not subject to IAEA inspections except for at a small research facility.

The resolution debated at the meeting of all 159 IAEA member states expressed "concern about Israeli nuclear capabilities and calls upon Israel to accede to the NPT and place all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards".

In 2009 the same resolution was narrowly approved by members of the IAEA and in 2010 it was defeated only after intensive lobbying efforts by Western countries.

Arab diplomats said they refrained from putting forward the resolution on Israel at the 2011 and 2012 IAEA meetings to boost the chances of the Middle East conference but it had no effect.

Arab League Ambassador Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy earlier told Reuters: "The Israelis have been playing for time, delaying."

These efforts, however, have so far come to nothing, with a hoped-for conference failing to take place in late 2012 as planned.

Iran is under intense international pressure because of suspicions that its nuclear activities, which have expanded greatly over the past decade, are aimed at developing the bomb. It has consistently denied that it is seeking a nuclear arms capability.

The US envoy to the IAEA, Joseph MacManus, said the United States regretted that the resolution had been brought to a vote.

"There are no winners today," MacManus said. "We will look ahead and continue the hard work to start a constructive dialogue on the establishment of a weapons of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East."

An Israeli diplomat said the "positive outcome gives better prospect to Middle East dialogue."

Oman's ambassador Badr Mohamed Zaher Al Hinai, talking on behalf of Arab states at the IAEA, said that the proposed resolution "could resuscitate" efforts towards a nuclear-free Middle East.

Attacking the "double standards" of Western countries, he called allegations that other Middle East countries were seeking nuclear weapons a "huge distortion of the facts."

Like in previous years, the IAEA conference overwhelmingly adopted a separate resolution urging all Middle East countries to accede to the NPT, without mentioning Israel by name.

(AFP, Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

Comments

Dear Sirs,
I wish to second everything stated by L. Verner above and request that you publish a full list of the voting at this meeting. It is important that the world be made aware of the countries that support the idea of a nuclear armed Israel, those who do not and those who sit on the fence. It is intolerable that such a meeting can provide such a result whilst condemning other countries in the region.

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Nur Al-din Tobutt-Somers

Sirs, Is it possible to have list over how the various countries voted and who the abstainees were. It's a disgrace that Israel is allowed to have a nuclear capability at all and every effort must be employed to make certain that that capability is reined in.

Yours faithfully,

Verner L

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