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Israel Under Fire From UN Again
A preliminary statement by a UN forum conducting its five-year review of the treaty on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT), which concludes next week, isolates Israel as the only Middle Eastern state having not signed the pact. Cuba, India and Pakistan are the other nations that have not signed the treaty. The draft declaration also specifically calls on India and Pakistan to sign the treaty, after both openly tested nuclear devices in recent years. Cuba has no nuclear capabilities.

Egypt has singled out Israel, complaining that the treaty "cannot have any credibility with the states of the region as long as one state is exempt from its provisions."

Israel is not officially participating in the month-long review conference at the UN headquarters in New York. Jerusalem was hoping the NPT review would close without issuing a final declaration. The 30-year-old pact, subject to five-year reviews, twice ended in a conference review without a declaration in the past.

Israel has looked to the US to defend its interests, trusting that Washington will only accept a "fair and balanced" NPT resolution. In addition to citing the countries that have not joined the NPT, the statement likely will also point out the member states that have signed but failed to abide by its provisions, including Iraq and North Korea.

The NPT was designed to halt the spread of nuclear weapons and technology. The five "recognized nuclear-weapon states" - the US, Britain, France, Russia and China - were to pursue good-faith negotiations on nuclear disarmament. The non-nuclear-weapon states agreed not to procure such armaments, and to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect their nuclear facilities.

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