x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

UAE warns of regional arms race over Israel

Israel's continued refusal to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty could lead to a regional arms race, Arab states have suggested in Vienna.

Israel's continued refusal to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty could lead to a regional arms race, Arab states have suggested in Vienna.

A joint paper was delivered by the UAE to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on behalf of the Arab States group at a meeting ahead of the next non-proliferation summit.

In it, the Arab States called on the UN secretary general, Ban ki-Moon, and the UN Security Council to act, and for the IAEA to stop providing technical programmes to Israel. Because Israel has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, it was not present at this week's gathering of treaty members which ended yesterday.

Israel's refusal to place its nuclear facilities under the IAEA's safeguards system to ensure peaceful uses of nuclear technology "threatens the security of the Arab states and regional and international peace, and is likely to lead to a regional armament race," The paper delivered stated.

The working paper said that cooperation with Israel on nuclear issues should be suspended until it joins the treaty as a non-nuclear-weapon state and places all its nuclear facilities under the IAEA's safeguards agreement."Those steps are a necessary precondition in order to promote the universality, credibility and effectiveness of the treaty," the statement said.

Arab states stressed the need to enforce a resolution passed in 1995 to establish a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons, as well as the importance of Israel's participation in a Middle East conference planned for this year in Finland.

"Responsibility for the efforts required to establish a zone free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East lies principally with the states of the region that have not acceded to the treaty, which was also the case when other nuclear-weapon-free zones were established," it said. "It is therefore incumbent upon Israel to take the initiative and take the necessary steps towards establishing that zone, as was the case with previous situations."

The statement also defined the Finland conference as "a crossroads", warning that Israel's failure to attend could compel Arab countries to "reconsider their positions and evaluate the policies that they have been pursuing in recent years".

The statement said: "Arab states stress that any resolutions that are adopted by the 2012 conference should propose genuine steps, specific undertakings and a schedule for talks on establishing a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East."

The Finnish undersecretary of foreign affairs, Jaakko Laajava, told the IAEA this week that while progress has been made, "the agenda should enjoy the full support of all parties to ensure their participation". Emphasising the responsibility of all countries in the region, Mr Laajava said that Finland will continue to foster common ground on the outstanding issues.


amustafa@thenational.ae

This story has been amended since it was first published. The original story incorrectly stated the statement delivered was from the UAE where in fact it was a joint Arab States paper submitted by the UAE on behalf of the Arab group because the UAE was chairing the group.