Egypt refuses to sign nuclear ban treaty if Israel won't join as well
Egypt's foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, announced on Monday that Egypt would not sign a Comprehensive Nuclear Ban Treaty at the request of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before Israel joins a similar agreement.
Gheti reportedly told the nuclear watchdog that by not joining the United Nations' Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Israel had made the Middle East region more dangerous.
"Egypt's ratification of the [test ban] treaty is linked to the extent of developments that may occur in regional and international circumstances, including the possibility that Israel may join the NPT" Gheit told reporters of Egytpian News Agency MENA.
Israel is the only Middle Eastern nation not to have siged the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, under which states without nuclear weapons promise not to develop them. Five signatory nations known to be in possesion of nuclear weapons – the US, China, Russia, France and Britain, have pledged to eliminate such weapons eventually.
Arab states have requested that the international community put more pressure on Israel, believed to be in possesion of nuclear warheads, to sign the treaty.
Egypt's nuclear program reportedly fills reasearch and civilian medical needs. It has consistently denied any military character of the program, or any intention of developing nuclear weapons, according to Haaretz daily.