Five countries opposed the resolution on the ‘risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East’
The United Nations General Assembly First Committee, which deals with disarmament and international security issues, called on Israel to get rid of all its atomic weapons and place its nuclear sites under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency in a 152 to 5 vote.
Five countries – Canada, Israel, Micronesia, Palau and the United States – opposed the resolution on Friday over the “risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.” Twenty-four other countries abstained, including members of the European Union.
The resolution, submitted by Egypt, was sponsored by the Palestinian Authority and 19 countries, including Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.
Egypt’s text focuses on Israel as one of the nine countries believed to possess nuclear weapons, which the Jewish state has never officially acknowledged.
The resolution notes that Israel is the only country in the Middle East and one of the few among the 193 UN member states not to have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
It further calls on the Jewish state “to accede to the Treaty without further delay, not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, to renounce possession of nuclear weapons, and to place all of its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities under full-scope Agency safeguards as an important confidence-building measure among all states in the region and as a step towards strengthening peace and security.”
In a debate on the issue earlier this month, Israeli envoy to the UN Michal Maayan said the NPT is only relevant as long as it is respected and is not a remedy for the “unique security challenges” of the Middle East.
“Four out of five cases of serious violations of the NPT have occurred in the Middle East since it came into force,” she explained, referring to Iran’s illicit nuclear program and undeclared nuclear activities in Syria.
Maayan also explained that it is impossible to talk about a regional security architecture around the nuclear issue in a situation where Middle Eastern countries do not recognize Israel’s right to exist, stressing that this position is “untenable.”
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