Egypt is to open an international front to push Israel into signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty as pressure mounts on Tel Aviv to account for its atomic plans.
Cairo advocates holding a regional conference on an “internationally and effectively verifiable treaty for the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East,” a draft paper addressed to the NPT said Tuesday.
It added that Egypt will invite all Mideast states to the planned meeting.
According to Reuters, three permanent UN Security Council members — the United States, Britain and France have already announced their willingness to support such a summit, although not with a negotiating mandate.
The heat may also be turned up on Tel Aviv next month, when the 189 NPT signatories will gather for a review on May 3 at the UN headquarters in New York.
The appeal follows a resolution passed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which in September 2009, urged Israel to open its entire nuclear program to the watchdog and join the NPT.
At the time, the decision was fiercely opposed by the US and its Western allies and Israel announced that it would not cooperate with the resolution.
Since 1958, when it began building its Dimona plutonium and uranium processing facility, Israel has reportedly manufactured over 200 nuclear warheads, earning the reputation of being the sole owner of atomic weapons in the Middle East.
Former US president Jimmy Carter, aerial footage and decades of recurrent reporting have attested to the existence of the armaments.
The IAEA resolution had likewise warned of ‘Israeli nuclear capabilities.’