Israel Thanks U.S. for Stand On Mideast Nuke Ban

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters/Hamodia) -

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu thanked the United States for blocking an Egyptian-led drive on a possible Middle East nuclear weapons ban at a major United Nations conference, an Israeli official said.

A monthlong conference on the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ended in failure on Friday over disagreements on how to achieve a Middle East atomic weapons ban. Washington blamed the failure on Egypt, which in turn blamed the U.S., British and Canadian delegations.

Netanyahu conveyed his gratitude to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry in a call to Kerry, said a senior Israeli official, requesting anonymity.

Israel also thanked Britain and Canada for joining the United States in blocking consensus, the official said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced disappointment that NPT parties were “unable to narrow their differences on the future of nuclear disarmament or to arrive at a new collective vision on how to achieve a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.”

Emily Landau, head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the Institute for National Security Studies, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that Israel’s willingness to cooperate with U.N. officials was a key factor in the positive outcome.

“I would highlight that U.S. support this time was made easier because of the cooperative approach that Israel had adopted over the past few years,” Landau said, noting that Israel had been working with Finnish diplomat Jaakko Laajava to promote a regional dialogue on weapons of mass destruction.