CAIRO: Egypt will not back down from calling for monitoring of Israel’s nuclear program, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki in the wake of a letter Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit sent to the UN Security Council on the topic.
In an interview with Egyptian terrestrial television Thursday night from New York, Zaki said that the Security Council had long ignored this issue and that calls for a nuclear free Middle East would not be valid unless Israel’s nuclear program was included.
He said nuclear non-proliferation consisted of two aspects, “disarming those who already possess nuclear weapons and non-proliferation for countries that don’t yet possess a nuclear weapon.
He added that Egypt would not accept the interference of the Security Council in non-proliferation matters if it didn’t also include UN member states already possessing a nuclear weapons program.
Additionally, a foreign ministry statement indicated that in his speech to the currently convening UN General Assembly, Aboul Gheit said there was “some apprehension due to focusing on North Korea and Iran in dealing with the non-proliferation issue without mentioning Israel.
“It should be stated that Israel has nuclear capabilities and has to join the NPT (Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty), because if we do not clearly and directly raise the issue, the western world will remain doubted to tighten the grip around this or that party while it leaves Israel enjoying its nuclear supremacy, the statement continued.
Aboul Gheit had sent a letter last week to the foreign ministers of the 15 member states in which he outlined that it was “unacceptable that Israeli nuclear capabilities be far from the Security Council concern and the rest of the non-proliferation system.
A non-binding resolution passed last Thursday at the end of the annual general assembly of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called on Israel to sign the NPT as well as allow international observers access to its nuclear reactor in Dimona.
Another resolution was passed calling for nuclear disarmament in the Middle East. Israel however managed to scupper one resolution put forward by Iran that proposed prohibiting any member of the IAEA from attacking the nuclear facilities of another member.
Israel has never formally admitted that it has a nuclear program but former Dimona employee Mordechai Vanunu blew the whistle on the facility in the British press in 1986. He was jailed for 18 years as a result.