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UN general assembly calls on Israel to scrap nuclear weapons

Israel is the only state in the Middle East not party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty

THE United Nations general assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution on Tuesday calling on Israel to renounce possession of nuclear weapons and put its nuclear facilities under international oversight.

The resolution, which was adopted in a 161-5 vote, noted that Israel was the only Middle Eastern country that is not party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

It called on Israel to "accede to that treaty without further delay, not to develop, produce, test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, to renounce possession of nuclear weapons" and to put its nuclear facilities under the supervision of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The United States, Canada, Palau and Micronesia joined Israel in opposing the measure.

Israel is widely known to possess nuclear arms but has always refused to confirm it.

The resolution was introduced by Egypt and echoed a similar Arab-backed effort that failed to gain approval in September at the IAEA.

At the time, Israel alleged that Arab countries were undermining dialogue by repeatedly singling it out in international arenas.

The UN resolution, entitled "The risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East," pushed for the establishment of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East and lamented that US-backed efforts to convene fresh talks had been abandoned in 2012.

Israel has continually argued that a full Palestinian-Israeli peace plan must precede any creation of a Mideast zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

The nuclear-armed country claims that Iranian work on nuclear arms is the real regional threat, although Iran has always denied pursuing such weapons.

General assembly resolutions are not legally binding but carry moral weight because it is the only body where all 193 UN member states are represented.

US representative Robert Wood, in voting against the resolution at committee level last month, insisted that the measure "fails to meet the fundamental tests of fairness and balance."

Mr Wood complained that it confined itself to expressions of concern about the activities of a single country," ignoring the fact that Israel was the only regional power possessing such weapons.


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