Israel, US work to keep Israel’s nukes off table at annual IAEA conference

Published September 16th, 2015 - 02:03 GMT
The IAEA's annual conference will take place this week at the organization's headquarters in Vienna. (AFP/File)
The IAEA's annual conference will take place this week at the organization's headquarters in Vienna. (AFP/File)

Israel, the United States and a number of other pro-Israel states are working behind the scenes of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) annual conference to prevent a discussion of a resolution put forth by Egypt and the Arab States on the subject of "Israel's nuclear capabilities."

The resolution calls for the IAEA to demand that Israel open for inspection the nuclear reactor in Dimona in which, according to foreign reports, it has developed fissile material for a nuclear weapon.

The resolution has been submitted to be on the conference's agenda as it has in past years. In previous years, a discussion of the resolution has taken place and it was accepted by a majority of states, but it was non-binding.

The IAEA's annual conference takes place this week at the organization's headquarters in Vienna. Some three weeks ago, Israel's National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's special envoy Yitzhak Molcho visited Cairo and met with the Egyptian foreign minister and other officials. They tried to convince the Egyptians to change their approach on the nuclear issue given the current situation in the Middle East and the developing strategic and defense ties between Israel and Egypt connected with the war on ISIS (Daesh) in Sinai and against Hamas's armed wing.

The Israeli delegation suggested that Egypt and the Arab League states, who are also supported by the Muslim bloc and the Non-Aligned Movement, submit the resolution, but agree to not hold a discussion of it at the conference. As of now it remains unclear if Israel will succeed in convincing them to take such an action. A decision on the matter is expected on Thursday.

On Wednesday afternoon, the head of Israel's delegation to the conference, the new director-general of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission, Ze'ev Snir, was scheduled to deliver an address. In his speech, he was expected to reiterate Israel's traditional stance that it will be prepared to discuss nuclear disarmament in the Middle East only after countries in the region recognize the Jewish state and sign peace treaties with it as well as security agreements. In his speech he was expected to emphasize the regional states that have violated their obligation to the IAEA by trying to produce nuclear weapons - Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran.

By Yossi Melman

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