'IAEA chief asked Israel to join nonproliferation treaty'

Vienna-based watchdog releases report claiming that Amano asked Israel to sign NPT during his low-key visits last month.

Yukiya Amano IAEA 311 (photo credit: AP)
Yukiya Amano IAEA 311
(photo credit: AP)
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency asked Israel to consider signing up to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, according to a report released Friday.
A report by the Vienna-based watchdog said agency chief Yukiya Amano "invited Israel to consider to accede" to the treaty during a low-key visit last month.
The report also contained a July 26 letter from Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that pointed the finger at Iran and Syria as the Middle East's "real proliferation challenges."
RELATED:'Relations have improved since you replaced elBaradei'Amano: Iran nuclear dialogue goes onYukia Amano, who late last year replaced Mohammed ElBaradei as the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), arrived quietly in Israel two weeks ago for a two-day visit as the guest of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission.
The purpose of the visit, which was unannounced beforehand, was believed to be to facilitate relations between Israel and the IAEA.
Amano’s accession to the head of the IAEA was greeted in December with a sigh of relief in Jerusalem, which had grown frustrated by what it felt was ElBaradei’s clumsy and politically motivated handling of the Iranian nuclear dossier.
By contrast, Amano is seen in Jerusalem as both “more professional” and “more balanced.”