Man voiceember states of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) rejected by a small margin a resolution tabled by Arab nations calling on Israel to undersign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a decision that signaled a diplomatic victory for the United States.
The U.S. urged member states to vote against the resolution, saying it could damage more extensive efforts to ban such weapons in the Middle East and send a negative message to the recently resumed Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
U.S. envoy to the IAEA Glen Davis claimed : “The winner here is the peace process. The winner is the opportunity to move forward in a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.”
46 states voted in favor of the resolution against 51 who opposed it, while 23 states abstained in the IAEA General Assembly meeting.
The IAEA approved a vote in close race last year for a similar resolution concerning Israeli nuclear capabilities during the organization’s General Conference.
Israel warned the General Assembly held in Vienna early Friday morning that efforts led by Arab leaders targeting Israel could send a “deadly blow” towards cooperation and security improvement in the Mideast.
Israeli envoy to the IAEA Ehud Azoulay said shortly before the vote: “Adopting this resolution would be a deadly blow to any hope of future cooperation efforts in regional security in the Middle East.”
Representatives from Arab states said Israel’s nuclear arsenal threatens regional peace and stability, adding that Israel is the only country in the region that has not signed the NPT, saying it will not join the treaty until there is full peace in the Middle East.
If Israel undersigns the NPT it will be forced to renounce nuclear arms.