UN senior official says Israel ready to back nuclear test banning treaty
21st June, 2016
JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly declared that he backs approval of a Vienna-based treaty banning nuclear tests.
According to reports, senior UN official Lassina Zerbo, who heads the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization created to implement the treaty, said that Netanyahu considered the implementation a matter of “when, rather than if.”
It was added that Netanyahu did not commit to a time frame, although this is considered “normal in diplomacy.”
The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty currently reportedly has 196 member states — 183 that have signed the treaty and 164 that have ratified it.
Further, Israel’s ratification would move the treaty one step closer to taking effect and creating a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, leaving only seven out of 44 countries holding out.
U.S., China, Iran, Egypt, India, Pakistan and North Korea are reportedly holding out as they were in possession of nuclear power reactors when the U.N. treaty was adopted in 1996.
The announcement comes even as Israel is commonly considered to be the only country in the Middle East with nuclear arsenal, although the Jewish state has not overtly commented on the same.
Reports added that the development is one of the many that has occurred as Netanyahu tries to forge closer ties with moderate Sunni Arab states against Islamic extremism and in hopes of pressurising Palestine in possible future peace talks.