Obama: Israel should sign nuclear non-proliferation treaty
By Natasha Mozgovaya and Agencies
Tags: Israel news, Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged all countries, including Israel, to sign the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT.
"Whether we're talking about Israel or any other country, we think that becoming part of the NPT is important," Obama said. "And that, by the way, is not a new position. That's been a consistent position of the United States government, even prior to my administration."
Israel operates a policy of 'nuclear ambiguity', refusing to confirm or deny having atomic weapons - but has not signed the treaty and is believed by analysts to posses between 200 and 300 nuclear warheads.
Obama, who was hosting an international conference on nuclear security in Washington, was at first reluctant to answer journalists' questions on Israel, whose prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu had at the last minute canceled plans to attend.
"Initially you were talking about US behavior, and then suddenly we're talking about Israel. Let me talk about the United States," the president said.
"I do think that as part of the NPT, our obligation, as the largest nuclear power in the world, is to take steps to reducing our nuclear stockpile. And that's what the START treaty was about, sending a message that we are going to meet our obligation...as far as Israel goes, I'm not going to comment on their program.
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