Israel braces for Arab offensive at IAEA assembly

Two anti-Israel proposals expected to be raised during meeting set to take place later this month in Vienna.

September 9, 2011 02:41
1 minute read.
IAEA board of governors meeting in Vienna, March.

IAEA meeting_311. (photo credit: Stringer Austria / Reuters)


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Israel is making preparations in an effort to defeat a resolution being drafted by Arab states that is expected to be brought before the International Atomic Energy Agency annual gathering later this month in Vienna, and will target Israel over its assumed nuclear capabilities.

The IAEA’s 55th annual member-state gathering will open on September 19. Dr. Shaul Horev, head of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, who will be accompanied by officials from the Foreign Ministry, will address the forum, which is expected to focus on the nuclear crisis earlier this year in Japan.

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Two anti-Israel proposals are expected to be raised during the meeting: One from Egypt calls for increased IAEA inspections throughout the Middle East, and another from a number of Arab states calling on Israel to join a global anti-nuclear weapons treaty. The second resolution was voted down by four votes at last year’s meeting.

Israel Atomic Energy Commission officials said that the Arab states’ resolution was an attempt to single out and isolate Israel in a move that is not within the IAEA’s authority.

“Like last year, Israel will work with its allies to ensure that this resolution does not pass,” the officials said.

Last year, US officials warned that zeroing in on Israel, widely believed to be the region’s only nuclear power, could jeopardize an Egyptian-proposed conference in 2012 to discuss creating a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.

It may also cast a shadow over plans by IAEA Director- General Yukiya Amano to invite both Israel and Arab states to a forum later this year to discuss the experience of other regions where nuclear-weaponsfree zones have been established.

European diplomats have said that they believe Israel will attend those discussions, expected to be held in November in Vienna and seen as a way to help build confidence. But any resolution aimed against the Jewish state at the September 19-23 conference of the IAEA’s 151 member states could harm prospects for the forum, they said.

Reuters contributed to the report.

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