Egypt Urges for Israel's Adherence To NPT
Egypt urged parties to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty on Tuesday to demand that Israel join the treaty immediately and place its nuclear facilities under international control.
"The NPT cannot have any credibility with the states of the region as long as one state is exempt from its provisions," Egypt's ambassador to the United Nations, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, told the treaty's five-yearly review conference.
Israel is one of four countries that have failed to sign the treaty, adopted in 1970 to halt the spread of nuclear weapons. The others are Cuba, India and Pakistan.
India and Pakistan conducted underground nuclear tests in 1998 while Israel refuses to confirm or deny the general belief that it has nuclear weapons, saying only that it will not be the first to introduce such weapons into the Middle East.
Western experts say it has used its reactor at Dimona in the southern Negev desert to produce around 200 nuclear warheads.
Aboul Gheit recalled that the 1995 review conference, which extended the NPT indefinitely, also passed a resolution calling for a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East.
"Without this resolution, the comprehensive package which enabled the indefinite extension of the treaty could not have been adopted without a vote," he said.
"Egypt reaffirms that this comprehensive package is indivisible," he added.
Diplomats said the United States allowed the 1995 resolution to pass because it did not mention Israel by name.
But Aboul Gheit hinted that Egypt now wanted delegates to take a tougher stand.
Egypt has put forward many proposals on steps to be taken by Israel and the states of the region aimed at ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, he said.
"This imbalance cannot be accepted, neither can it last. The NPT cannot have any credibility with the states of the region as long as one state is exempt from its provisions," Aboul Gheit said.
The nuclear states, and particularly those who co-sponsored the 1995 resolution on the Middle East, were responsible for its implementation, he said, calling for a mechanism to follow up progress in carrying it out.
Using the "pretext of not burdening the conference or any other pretext so as not to deal with the issue of the Middle East with the necessary seriousness" would undoubtedly detract from the credibility of the treaty, the conference and the whole non-proliferation regime, Aboul Gheit said.
"The message of the 2000 review conference must be unequivocal in its demand that Israel accede to the treaty without further delay and that it place all its nuclear facilities under the safeguards regime of the IAEA," he said.
"The message must be crystal clear in expressing the danger to the security of the Middle East inherent in the status quo," he added – (Agencies)
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