Anti-Israel move 'postponed' at UN nuke watchdog: Syria

Wednesday 21 Sep 2011

Arab countries postpone an anti-Israeli resolution at the IAEA's annual general meeting, Syria's representative to the UN atomic agency Bassam Sabbagh said

Syria's representative to the UN atomic agency said Wednesday that Arab countries had put off until 2012 tabling an anti-Israel resolution at the body's annual general meeting this week.

"The Arab countries have decided to postpone the submission of a draft resolution ... to the next session," Bassam Sabbagh, Syria's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in a speech.

The resolution would have urged Israel, which is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons, to join other countries in the Middle East including Syria and Iran in becoming party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A similar one was adopted by a narrow majority at the IAEA's annual meeting in 2009 and was only narrowly defeated in 2010 after intense lobbying by Israel and close ally the United States.

Sabbagh told the IAEA's 55th annual meeting of all members in Vienna that the move reflected Arab countries' "good faith" and their wish for a successful conference in 2012 on achieving a nuclear weapons-free Middle East.

Israel "has undertaken its nuclear activities outside any international control ... and possesses a huge military arsenal which does not only threaten the region but the whole world," Sabbagh said through an interpreter.

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