Protesting Israel's Nuclear Hypocrisy, Egypt Walks Out of Failed Non-Proliferation Talks
Egyptian official cites 'continued lack of seriousness' on nuclear-free agreement
Egypt ceremoniously walked out of Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) talks in Geneva on Monday in protest of what it called a "lack of will" to implement a 1995 resolution for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons.
The diplomatic protest follows recent comments from an Egyptian official pointing out the hypocrisy of Israel's secretive and undeclared nuclear weapons program.
In a speech on the first day of the NPT conference on April 22, former Egyptian Ambassador to Geneva Hisham Badr said, "Egypt and many Arab countries have joined the NPT with the understanding that this would lead to a Middle East completely free of nuclear weapons. However, more than 30 years later, one country in the Middle East, namely Israel, remains outside the NPT."
Now, in the second week of talks, Egypt insists that no progress has been made towards the 1995 resolution, saying it was pulling out of the talks "to send a strong message of non-acceptance of the continued lack of seriousness in dealing with the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East".
As Reuters reports, U.S. and Israeli officials have said a nuclear arms-free zone in the Middle East could not be realized until Iran curbed its nuclear energy program. Meanwhile, as alluded to by Badr, Isreal is the only country in the region that has a nuclear arsenal. Despite this, Israel and the US refuse to discuss or even acknowledge the Israeli nuclear weapons program, but continues to wave their finger at Iran.
Conclusive evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons has not been established, and the government repeatedly proclaims it has no desire to possess such weapons and has loudly and repeatedly supported the idea of truly nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.