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Israel under fire at IAEA meet

Arab states criticised Israel Thursday at a meeting of the UN atomic watchdog, calling on the Jewish state to come clean about its nuclear capability and open up to international scrutiny.



Vienna: Arab states criticised Israel
Thursday at a meeting of the UN atomic watchdog, calling on the
Jewish state to come clean about its nuclear capability and
open up to international scrutiny.

Arab countries had succeeded - despite objections by
western states and the United States in particular - in having
an item entitled "Israeli nuclear capabilities" formally
included on the agenda of a meeting of the International
Atomic Energy Agency here.

It was the first time since 1991 that the issue has
included for discussion by the IAEA`s 35-member board.

Israel, a member of the IAEA but not a signatory to
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is widely believed
to be the only nuclear power in the Middle East, with around
200 warheads, but has maintained a policy of deliberate
ambiguity about its capabilities since the mid-1960s.

Speaking on behalf of the Arab group, Sudan`s
ambassador to the IAEA Mahmoud El-Amin told the closed-door
session that Israel was a "nuclear danger".

And that danger was "reinforced by Israel`s aggressive
policies towards the Arab countries, threatening peace and
security in the region," as seen in the recent Israeli raid on
a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, El-Amin said.

Iranian ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh similarly
described "Israel`s nuclear capability a serious threat to the
health, security and prosperity of the world, because the
Israeli regime refuses to be bound by any international
commitments or moral values."

It was Arab countries that tabled a resolution at the
IAEA`s general conference last September, passed with a narrow
majority, urging Israel to join the NPT.

PTI

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