Arabs May Not Press Israel Resolution at IAEA Meeting
Arab states may decide against targeting Israel over its assumed nuclear arsenal at the U.N. atomic agency’s annual conference so as not to imperil wider efforts for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, diplomats say.
A senior diplomat said Arab countries would criticize Israel but were divided over whether to submit a resolution on the issue to next month’s General Conference of the United Nations’ 154-nation International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
“The majority feels that we shouldn’t submit it this year,” an Arab source said, in comments likely to be welcomed by Western envoys who have been urging their Arab counterparts not to single out the Jewish state.
In a surprise move at last year’s IAEA gathering, the Arab group refrained from zeroing in on 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.
Israel 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.