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Israel rejects call to join anti-nuclear treaty


Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem March 28, 2010. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem March 28, 2010. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel on Saturday rejected as "flawed and hypocritical" a declaration by signatories of a global anti-nuclear arms treaty that urged it to sign the pact and make its atomic facilities subject to U.N. inspections.

All 189 parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, including the United States, called on Friday in a declaration that singled out Israel for a conference in 2012 to discuss banning weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

"As a non-signatory state of the NPT, Israel is not obligated by the decisions of this conference, which has no authority over Israel," the Israeli government said in an emailed statement.

"Given the distorted nature of this resolution, Israel will not be able to take part in its implementation," it said.

The 28-page declaration said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and key states would arrange a conference that would include all nations in the region, by implication including bitter enemies Israel and Iran.

Israel is presumed to have a sizable nuclear arsenal but neither confirms nor denies it. It is the only Middle East state that has not signed the NPT and, like fellow non-members India and Pakistan, did not take part in the review conference.

U.S. officials, irked at efforts to single out Israel, made clear the proposal might go nowhere, saying the Middle East could not be declared WMD-free until broad Arab-Israeli peace prevailed and Iran curbed its uranium enrichment programme.

"HYPOCRITICAL"

Alluding to this point, the Israeli statement said: "This resolution is deeply flawed and hypocritical. It ignores the realities of the Middle East and the real threats facing the region and the entire world."

Iran was not mentioned in the NPT declaration.

Israel and Western powers suspect Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons capability due to its past concealment of nuclear activity from the watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency and continued restrictions on IAEA access.

Tehran says it is enriching uranium only to generate electricity and isotopes for agriculture and medical treatment.

The Israeli statement said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would discuss the NPT declaration with President Barack Obama when the two leaders meet on Tuesday at the White House.

Obama welcomed agreements on a range of non-proliferation issues at the NPT meeting but said he would oppose efforts to isolate Israel and any actions to jeopardize its security.

Israel, whose jets bombed Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981 and mounted a similar sortie over Syria in 2007, has hinted that it could use force to deny Iran the means to build an atomic bomb.

The Israeli government statement said: "The real problem with WMDs in the Middle East does not relate to Israel but to those countries that have signed the NPT and brazenly violated it: Iraq under Saddam, Libya, Syria and Iran."

Libya in 2003 ended years of international isolation after it promised to give up nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and has followed through on those promises.

(Writing by Joseph Nasr, Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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