Israeli PM cancels attendance at U.S.-hosted nuclear summit

13:52, April 09, 2010      

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to cancel a planned trip to Washington for a U.S.-hosted nuclear security summit, local daily Ha'aretz quoted government officials as saying on Thursday night.

Netanyahu was originally scheduled to travel to the United States on Monday and join over 40 national leaders at the conference, called by U.S. President Barack Obama and aimed to set up a mechanism preventing nuclear weapons from reaching dangerous hands.

However, out of concerns that a group of Muslim states, led by Egypt and Turkey, would demand at the summit that Israel sign the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Netanyhu decided to cancel the trip and send Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister Dan Meridor instead, according to the report.

A senior government official was citing as saying that Israel was "disappointed" with developments in the run-up to the conference. "The nuclear security summit is supposed to be about dealing with the danger of nuclear terror. Israel is a part of that effort," added the unnamed official.

The Jewish state is among only a few countries that are not party to the NPT, and is expected to the only Mideast country in possession of nuclear weapons. Yet Israel abides by a policy of " nuclear ambiguity," neither confirming nor denying the assumption.

Meanwhile, Israel has long been accusing Iran, perceived as its archfoe, of secretly developing nuclear weapons and thus posing an existential threat to Israel, and has been urging the international community to impose crippling sanctions upon the Islamic republic. It also has refused to rule out the possibility of launching military attacks on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Iran has firmly denied the accusation, insisting that its nuclear program is purely for peaceful purposes.

Source: Xinhua


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