Israel PM avoids meeting with UN atomic watchdog chief

Netanyahu has avoided a meeting with UN atomic watchdog chief Yukiya Amano who is on his first visit to nuclear-armed Israel, a newspaper reported.

Israel PM avoids meeting with UN atomic watchdog chief

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has avoided a meeting with UN atomic watchdog chief Yukiya Amano who is on his first visit to nuclear-armed Israel, the Haaretz newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), had asked to meet with Netanyahu months ago, but the scheduled meeting was abruptly cancelled last week as the premier planned to go on holiday, the paper said.

It said the meeting had been due to take place on Monday afternoon, shortly after the IAEA chief landed in Israel and a few hours before the premier was due to start his holiday.

The daily cited a diplomat familiar with the visit as saying Amano was told that the meeting had been canceled due to Netanyahu's vacation.

"Netanyahu's decision to cancel his meeting with Amano raised eyebrows on Monday, particularly given the premier's fixation on Iran's nuclear programme," Haaretz said.

The IAEA passed a resolution that calls on the Jewish state to put its atomic sites under U.N. inspection and join the Non-Proliferation Treaty in September. The resolution, which was backed by U.N. Security Council members Russia and China, passed by a 49-45 margin with 16 abstentions.

Netanyahu last month secured assurances from US President Barack Obama that a proposed 2012 conference on establishing a nuclear weapons-free Middle East would not mention Israel.

Israeli President Shimon Peres, considered to be the father of Israel's nuclear programme, is due to meet Amano in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Amano held talks on Monday with the head of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, Shaul Chorev, and was due to tour the Soreq Nuclear Research Centre, whose activities are monitored by the IAEA, Haaretz said.

But, Amano will not visit a secret nuclear facility near the town of Dimona in the Negev desert and the reason is not announced yet.

Israel, most experts estimate that it has at least between 100 and 200 nuclear warheads, often threatens the Islamic republic with an attack.

Turkey often calls for "fair" stance from global powers over nuclear activities in the region.

Israel repeatedly refuses US and international calls to sign Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and open its facilities for IAEA perusal.

Agencies

Last Mod: 25 Ağustos 2010, 15:58
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