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Israel Aims For Middle East Free Of Nuke Weapons

UN Atomic Agency Chief Hails Israeli Aim For Middle East Free Of Nuclear Weapons

Concluding a three-day visit to Israel this week, the head of the United Nations atomic watchdog agency said he welcomed the country’s pledge to work towards a Middle East that is free of nuclear weapons.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and members of his Cabinet during his visit to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

At a press conference in Jerusalem, Mr. ElBaradei said Mr. Sharon had confirmed to him that Israeli policy about Middle East peace means the country is “looking forward” to the region’s establishment as a zone free of nuclear weapons.

“It’s not a new policy, but affirming that policy at the level of Prime Minister I think is quite a welcome development,” he said.

Mr. ElBaradei also met officials of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission and gave a lecture at a university in Jerusalem during his visit.

The trip by Mr. ElBaradei follows a call by the IAEA General Conference of Member States for every Middle Eastern country to open its nuclear facilities to full inspection by the agency and to work towards a nuclear-weapons-free-zone.

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