Middle East Watch
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IAEA urges nuclear inspections in Israel

The Daily Star

19 septembre 2009, par Sylvia Westall


Arab states in the UN nuclear assembly on Friday won narrow approval of a resolution urging Israel to put all its atomic sites under UN inspection and join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Israel deplored the measure for singling it out while many of its neighbors remained hostile to its existence, and said it would not cooperate with it.

The non-binding resolution, which passed for the first time in 18 years of attempts thanks to more developing-nation votes, voiced concern about “Israeli nuclear capabilities” and urged the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to tackle the issue.

Israel is one of only three countries worldwide along with India and Pakistan outside the nuclear NPT and is widely assumed to have the Middle East’s only atomic arsenal, though it has never officially confirmed or denied it.

Iranian Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh, whose country’s disputed nuclear program is under IAEA investigation, told reporters Friday’s vote was a “glorious moment” and “a triumph for the oppressed nation of Palestine.”

Iran was one of 21 countries sponsoring the bid.

Iran absorbed a setback later when its bid to make legally binding a 1991 resolution banning attacks on nuclear sites, failed to win a consensus from the bloc of Non-Aligned Movement developing nations and so was not brought up for a vote.

UN Security Council members Russia and China backed the Israel resolution, passed by a 49-45 margin by the IAEA’s annual member states. The vote split along Western and developing nation lines. There were 16 abstentions.

“Israel will not cooperate in any matter with this resolution, which is only aiming at reinforcing political hostilities and lines of division in the Middle East region,” chief Israeli delegate David Danieli told the chamber.

Western states said it was unfair and counterproductive to isolate one member state. They said an IAEA resolution passed on Thursday, urging all Middle East nations to foreswear atomic bombs, included Israel and made Friday’s proposal unnecessary.

Arab nations said Israel had brought the resolution on itself by having never signed the 40-year-old NPT.


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