IAEA Calls on Israel to Sign Non-Proliferation Treaty

For the first time in 18 years, Israel, the United States and the Western powers were unsuccessful at preventing passage of a resolution calling on Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The resolution, passed at the end of the annual general assembly of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna on Thursday, also demands that Israel open its nuclear reactor in Dimona to international inspectors.

The resolution was passed by a majority of 49 countries, among them the members of the Arab League and the bloc of developing nations; against 45 Western countries, including the European Union and the United States, and 16 abstentions.

The non-binding resolution mentions "Israeli nuclear capabilities."

In the past, the United States and other Western countries were able to persuade the developing countries not to join the resolution, thus thwarting its passage.

Another resolution, passed with the agreement of Israel and Egypt, calls for nuclear disarmament in the Middle East, and for dialogue among all nations in the region to this end.

Israel's representative at the conference, deputy chief of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, David Danieli, said the resolution was counterproductive, stressing that Middle Eastern countries such as Libya, Iran and Syria, and Iraq in the past, had contravened the IAEA's resolutions despite being signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. He said these countries were planning to develop or had already developed nuclear weapons.

Israel did, however, manage to thwart a proposal by Iran to prohibit any member of the IAEA from attacking the nuclear facilities of another member.