Israel Rejects Opening Up Nuclear Programme, IAEA Reports
September 3, 2010
Israel's government has rebuffed the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) suggestion that it open its nuclear programme to international inspectors and join a global pact to stop the spread of nuclear arms, the IAEA said Friday in a report.
Israel comes under frequent criticism in the Arab region for its widely assumed nuclear weapons arsenal, which the country does not confirm as a matter of policy, DPA reported.
A majority of IAEA member states led by Arab countries tasked Director General Yukiya Amano a year ago to try and bring Israel into the global nuclear fold.
During a visit to Israel in August, Amano asked President Shimon Peres and other leaders to consider joining the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and accepting IAEA inspections, according to the report.
Israel's answer had echoed an earlier letter by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman from July, in which he called the IAEA's request a "politically motivated resolution (that) attempts to divert attention from the real proliferation challenges of the Middle East, namely non-compliance by Iran and Syria with their NPT obligations, by singling out Israel," the report said.
Liberman made arms control in the region conditional on durable peace in the Middle East and full compliance by all states with their international nuclear obligations.
Backed by most member states, the IAEA has been conducting thorough investigations of Iran's and Syria's nuclear programmes, which have been hampered by a lack of cooperation by the two countries.
Late in August, IAEA chief Amano issued a report saying he had made no progress in preparing the ground for discussions on a Middle East free of nuclear arms, as the divide between the positions of Israel and the rest of the region remained far apart.
The IAEA's member states are discuss these issues again at their annual General Conference in Vienna from September 20.