Saturday, September 25, 2004

Reuters AlertNet - U.N. CALL FOR ISRAELI DISARMAMENT

Reuters AlertNet - U.N. calls on N.Korea to scrap its atomic arsenal: "CALL FOR ISRAELI DISARMAMENT


After back-room negotiations between Israeli, U.S. and diplomats from Arab states, Israel agreed to support an IAEA resolution calling for "all states in the Middle East to forthwith accept the application of full-scope (IAEA) safeguards to all their nuclear activities."

It said this would be a first step towards "establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free zone" in the Middle East.

Israel neither denies nor admits to having nuclear weapons, but is widely believed to possess anywhere from 100 to 200 warheads. Like the nuclear powers Pakistan and India, Israel has never signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has no obligation to permit IAEA inspections of its atomic sites.

Israeli diplomats agreed to support the resolution after the proposal of a resolution openly calling on Israel to abandon any nuclear weapons was withdrawn, diplomats at the conference said.

"Israel's unsafeguarded facilities is a real threat to international peace and security," Iran's ambassador to the U.N. in Vienna, Pirooz Hosseini, told the conference.

Israel and the United States have accused Iran of secretly developing atomic weapons, but Iran denies this.

Israel has always said that it does not oppose signing the NPT, though only after there is stable peace in the Middle East.

It is an annual ritual at the IAEA annual conference that Arab and Moslem states try to get a resolution on the table that calls on Israel to give up its alleged nuclear weapons arsenal.

The last time they succeeded in getting such a resolution adopted by the IAEA General Conference was in 1991. Since 1987, the IAEA conference and U.N. General Assembly have passed 13 such resolutions. Israel has ignored them all. "

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