VIENNA - Western envoys are urging Arab states not to berate Israel
over its assumed nuclear arsenal at the UN atomic agency's annual
conference, fearing this could imperil wider efforts for a nuclear
weapons-free Middle East, diplomats say.
A senior diplomat said
Arab countries would criticise Israel but were divided over whether to
submit a resolution on the issue to next month's annual General
Conference of the United Nations' 154-nation International Atomic Energy
In a surprise move at last year's IAEA gathering,
the Arab group refrained from singling out Israel in this way in what
was called a "goodwill gesture" ahead of planned talks in 2012 on
creating a zone without nuclear arms in the Middle East.
welcomed this as a "positive" move, in a rare conciliatory exchange in
an otherwise heated debate that underlined deep Arab-Israeli divisions
on nuclear issues.
Diplomats said Arab states had not yet decided
whether to propose a non-binding but symbolically important draft text
criticizing "Israeli Nuclear Capabilities" at this year's week-long
meeting that starts on September 17.
They expressed concern that
an Arab move against Israel would discourage the Jewish state from
attending the talks due to be held later this year on a nuclear
arms-free Middle East.