VIENNA (AP) — An Arab-backed resolution singling out Israel for special attention over its alleged nuclear arsenal was defeated Thursday at an annual conference of the U.N. atomic agency.
Nations meeting at the International Atomic Energy Agency's general conference voted 58-45 against the resolution, while 27 abstained.
Backed by 18 Arab states, including Syria, the resolution expressed concern "about the Israeli nuclear capabilities," urging Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and put its nuclear facilities under international oversight. The Jewish state is overwhelmingly considered to possess nuclear arms but declines to confirm it.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the outcome of the vote, calling the resolution an effort "to harm Israel." It was the second consecutive year that a resolution seeking to censure Israel was put to a vote and defeated at the IAEA meeting.
Introducing the resolution in Vienna, Kuwaiti Ambassador Sadiq Marafi criticized what he called Israel's "provocative and aggressive attitude" and described the country as "the only obstacle on a way to create a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East."
Israeli Ambassador Merav Zafari-Odiz, while welcoming the outcome, questioned how a "genuine dialogue among regional parties" could be expected "when our Arab neighbors continue to choose the path of condemning and singling out Israel in every possible international arena."
The U.S. opposed the resolution. U.S. envoy Laura Kennedy said it "lessens confidence among the regional parties and diminishes the prospect for constructive dialogue."
Separately, the conference voted 117-0, with 13 abstentions, in favor of a resolution submitted by Egypt that called on "all states in the region" to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.