Israel, US working to prevent discussion of 'Israel's nuclear capabilities' at IAEA meeting

Israeli delegation met with Egyptian officials in Cairo in attempt to prevent discussion of resolution.

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September 16, 2015 15:56
2 minute read.
Dimona

Dimona nuclear reactor. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Israel, the US and a number of other pro-Israel states are working behind the scenes of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 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.

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The resolution was submitted to be on the conference’s agenda in past years as well. In previous years, the resolution was discussed and accepted by a majority of states, but it was non-binding.

“Israel is committed to direct and open dialogue with its neighbors on all matters of regional security. Accordingly, Israel constructively engaged in an effort to advance regional dialogue,” Ze’ev Snir, the director-general of the IAEA, said Wednesday in a speech to the 59th general assembly of the agency, gathered in Vienna.

He also called on Arab nations, first and foremost Egypt, to drop their deliberation on “Israel’s nuclear capabilities” and to forgo its proposal to establish a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.

Snir described the proposal as “biased and politically motivated.”

Some three weeks ago, 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 defensive ties between Israel and Egypt, against ISIS in Sinai and Hamas’s armed wing.

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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.

On Thursday, the annual general assembly will decide whether to deliberate and vote on the resolutions.

In his speech, Snir added, “For decades, Iran has been pursuing a secretive nuclear program. Iran came to the negotiating table only under the heavy pressure of international sanctions.” He also said that, “Iran will continue to provide misleading explanations while concealing, or destroying, incriminating evidence, as shown in the desperate, massive clean-up operation it carried out in the Parchin test-site over the past three years.”

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