Egypt’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the UN General Assembly has adopted two new resolutions submitted by Egypt regarding nuclear disarmament and the danger of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
In a press statement issued by the official spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cairo, Amr Rushdie, it was said that the first resolution, adopted unanimously by the General Assembly, called on concerned parties to take urgent practical steps toward the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. It also calls on all countries which are still not signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to place all their nuclear activities under the Atomic Energy Agency’s monitoring and safeguard system. Such countries are also called upon to halt all nuclear development, production and testing, and bring an end to activities towards the acquisition of nuclear weapons and their storage, in the territories under their control.
The second resolution put forward by Egypt on behalf of the Arab bloc and adopted by an overwhelming majority of the General Assembly, warns of the dangers of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and stresses the need for Israel to sign up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It also stresses the non-development, production or testing of any nuclear weapons in the region and demands that all nuclear facilities should be placed under the comprehensive safeguard system of the Atomic Energy Agency. The Resolution calls on the UN Secretary General to submit a report to the General Assembly on the extent of the implementation of this resolution, and further stipulates that the General Assembly continue to follow up on the issue.
This move by the UN General Assembly has been made just as reports have surfaced that “a US-based research institute will soon publish what it says is ‘indisputable’ evidence that Israel stole weapons-grade uranium for its still-undeclared atomic weapons programme from a nuclear reprocessing plant in western Pennsylvania”. It is claimed that the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) is due to release its findings on research which looked into the “disappearance of highly enriched uranium from the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (Numec) in Apollo, Pennsylvania in the 1950s and 1960s.”
According to the Director of IRmep, Grant Smith, “there is no one smoking gun; there are many smoking pistols lying all over the place”. However, when Kristin Dailey of Lebanon’s Daily Star contacted Zalman Shapiro, the founder and former president of Numec, the 91-year old “strongly denied that any diversion of materials to Israel had ever taken place at the plant”.
Nevertheless, a retired commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said that if claims are true that the “isotopic signatures” of “uranium samples picked up by the CIA outside Israel’s nuclear installation in Dimona” are the same as material produced by the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in the US state of Ohio (which supplied Numec), such findings would be “very significant”.