Turkey's prime minister said Sunday that the world is turning a blind eye to Israel's nuclear program and that he intends to raise the issue at the nuclear summit in Washington.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan remarked that Iran's nuclear program is being scrutinized because of its membership in the International Atomic Energy Agency whereas Israel, which has not signed a nonproliferation treaty, is free to do what it wants.
"We are disturbed by this and will say so," Erdogan told reporters before his departure for Washington on Sunday.
The Israeli government has said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called off his trip to Washington because he believed Turkey and other Muslim nations would make an issue of Israel's nuclear program.
Israel's policy is to neither confirm nor deny that it possesses nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday that Israel has much to contribute to this week's nuclear security summit even though Netanyahu was skipping the Washington conference.
Clinton said the world's biggest concern on nuclear security is that terrorists will get control of bomb-making material. She said that Israel can do much to help thwart nuclear terror.
Representing Israel at U.S. President Barack Obama's conference will be Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor.
Clinton's remarks came in interviews with NBC's Meet the Press and ABC's This Week.
On Friday, a top U.S. official said the Obama administration believed Israel's delegation to the nuclear summit will be "robust," despite Netanyahu's decision not to attend.
"We obviously would like to have the prime minister but the deputy prime minister will be leading the delegation and it will be a robust Israeli delegation," U.S. National Security Adviser General Jim Jones told reporters traveling on Air Force One.
He also said that relationships between the U.S. and Israel are "ongoing, fine and continuous."
Obama has invited more than 40 countries to the summit, which will deal with preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to terrorist groups.
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