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IAEA conference to discuss Israeli nukes for first time

from World
Thursday, August 28, 2003

LONDON — The International Atomic Energy Agency has decided to discuss Israeli nuclear capabilities in its next major conference.

Diplomatic sources said the IAEA has placed on the agenda of its General Conference and Regular Session the subject of "Israeli Nuclear Capabilities and Threats." The subject will be discussed at the conference in Vienna in September.

The sources said this is the first time in decades that the IAEA has placed Israel's nuclear programs on the agenda of its general conference.

The conference has been planned from Sept. 15 to Sept. 19, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the subject was placed at the behest of Arab and Islamic states.

The proposal to discuss Israel's nuclear programs came from the Arab League, the diplomats said. Oman was said to have submitted the request.

The IAEA has reserved the conference to also discuss Iran's nuclear program and U.S. charges that Teheran is developing nuclear weapons. In response, Iran and Arab states have criticized the agency for failing to address Israel's purported nuclear arsenal.

In a recent meeting, the Arab League has asserted that Israel has stockpiled up to 300 nuclear warheads. The league said Israel now has the capability of producing hydrogen bombs.

The sources said the Arab League plans to distribute a study on Israel's nuclear programs to participants at the IAEA conference. The league will also demand that Israel sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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