|Nuclear Plant in Dimona, Israel|
Officials from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office denied a report on Wednesday claiming Israel tentatively agreed to take part in a conference with other Arab countries on creating a nuclear-free Middle East.
According to an Associated Press report, after more than a decade of diplomatic maneuvers, Israel, Egypt and Syria sent letters to the International Atomic Energy Agency expressing their desire for a joint meeting on making the Middle East free of nuclear weapons. The sides have yet to agree on preconditions for the meeting, and the meeting will reportedly not occur until these are ironed out.
Dr. Shaul Horev, director-general of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, told Yukiya Amano, director-general of the IAEA that "Israel is willing to cooperate with you [the IAEA]," according to a letter made available to the AP.
The PM's office said the report was "not correct" and has denied holding discussions on nuclear weapons with the IAEA.
At the 23rd U.N. Conference on Disarmament Issues in July, Amano said he hopes there will be a forum on a nuke-free Middle East in 2012.
Israel has long maintained a policy of ambiguity surrounding its rumored nuclear weapons program, saying only that it will "not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the region."