Arab states will refrain from submitting a resolution criticizing Israel at next week’s International Atomic Energy Agency general conference, but are threatening to do so next year instead, diplomats said Saturday.
The week-long general conference of the IAEA starts on Monday.
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An "Israeli Nuclear Capabilities" (INC) resolution, despite being only symbolic, evoked a storm in 2009 when it was narrowly adopted at the IAEA's general conference.
It expressed “concern about the Israeli nuclear capabilities” and called on Israel to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and allow in IAEA inspectors.
This year, Arab states are refraining in order not to jeopardize a still-to-be-confirmed conference organized by Finland in December on establishing a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East, envoys said.
"We want to give these efforts a chance," one Arab diplomat at IAEA headquarters in Vienna said Friday, echoing other Western and non-Western envoys. "But if things don’t work out, then next year will be different."
Israel is widely believed to possess military nuclear capabilities but has never confirmed it. Unlike Iran, for example, it is not a signatory to the NPT and therefore not subject to IAEA inspections, except at one site.
A two-day forum at the IAEA last November on creating so-called nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZ) was spurned by Iran but attended by Israel, Syria, 17 other Middle East states, Palestinian representatives and others.
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