Israeli Nuclear Capabilities and Middle East WMD Free Zone

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
March 4-8, 2013
Agenda Item 8

Any Other Business – Israeli Nuclear Capabilities and the Helsinki Conference on Establishing a Middle East WMD-Free Zone
U.S. Statement

Ambassador Joseph Macmanus
Permanent U.S. Representative to the IAEA

Mr. Chairman,

The United States regrets that the issue of Israeli nuclear capabilities has once again been brought before the Board.  Unlike other Member States whose nuclear activities are included on this Board’s agenda, Israel has broken no agreements under the purview of the Agency.

The United States remains firmly committed to the goal of a Middle East free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.  However, as we have said in the past, using meetings of this Board to single out Israel for censure does not move us closer to that goal; it moves us in the opposite direction.  Repeatedly invoking the INC issue only serves to reduce trust and confidence among states in the region, and to distract this Board from the attention that should appropriately be paid to serious issues of non-compliance by other states in the region.

We remain committed to bringing forward the proposed conference on a Middle East zone free of WMD and their delivery systems.  To this end, we continue to work with the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the conference facilitator, Finnish Under Secretary of State Ambassador Jaako Laajava, to start a dialogue on a framework that can lead to a successful conference.  We hope that dialogue starts soon so that the differences on a conference that remain among the states of the region can be addressed in an effective and non-polemical manner.  As we have said repeatedly, this will require direct engagement of the regional parties, which we continue to encourage.

We again state that efforts to use proceedings of the IAEA to bring forward politically-motivated issues will not help build an atmosphere conducive to constructive dialogue.  To this end, the United States looks forward to continuing our work with states in the region to help build the confidence necessary to advance these issues constructively.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.