IAEA Wants Middle East Cooperation on Nuclear Issues
The director-general of the IAEA regretted Monday the "little progress" in the Middle East in establishing a nuclear-free zone, and urged that an agreement on the issue be reached in the region.
Mohamed ElBaradei, addressing the 44th conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, said that he had been in "consultations" with Middle Eastern states over "full scope safeguards" and agreements "that would help establish a nuclear-free zone in the region."
"Regrettably, little progress has been achieved so far," he said.
"I will continue to use all available venues, within my authority, and with the concurrence of the States concerned, to move that mandate forward," he added.
Fourteen countries and two observers -- representatives of the sultanate of Oman and the Palestinian Authority -- are to submit a resolution during the conference, as they have done in the last two years, on "Israeli nuclear capacities and its threats".
Israel, which has never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has never stated it holds nuclear arms and refuses to submit itself to IAEA inspections.
But foreign experts say it has 100 to 200 warheads, which could be launched with ballistic missiles.
Israel estimates that Iran will have military nuclear capacity starting in 2005, and missiles capable of reaching Israel in 10 years' time -- VIENNA (AFP)
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