Israel PM snubs UN atomic watchdog chief: Newspaper

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 22:32

Jerusalem: Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu has snubbed UN atomic watchdog chief Yukiya Amano
who is on his first visit to Israel, the Haaretz newspaper
reported on Tuesday.

Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy
Agency, had requested to meet with Netanyahu months ago, but
the scheduled meeting was abruptly cancelled last week as the
premier planned to go on holiday, the paper said.
It said the meeting had been due to take place
yesterday afternoon, shortly after the IAEA chief landed in
Israel and a few hours before the premier was due to start his
holiday.

Asked about the report, a senior official who asked
not to be named said he was "not aware that that is true."

The visit comes against a backdrop of demands by
some members of the IAEA that Israel, generally considered to
be the Middle East`s sole if undeclared nuclear-armed power,
sign up to the international Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Israeli President Shimon Peres, considered to be
the father of Israel`s nuclear programme, is due to meet Amano
in Jerusalem tomorrow.

Israel is sure to raise with Amano its concerns
about Iran`s nuclear programme, which the Jewish state, the
United States and other Western countries believe is
ultimately aimed at producing an atomic bomb.

Iran, which on Saturday, began loading fuel into
its Russian-built first nuclear power plant, denies the
allegations, saying its programme is for civil energy purposes
only.
Ties between the IAEA and Israel were chilly during
the tenure of Amano`s predecessor, Mohamed ElBaradei.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 22:32

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