American president lauds leaders who took part in Washington nuke summit, says world safer as result of conference; responding to question, Obama says all nations should sign Non-Proliferation Treaty, including Israel
By Yitzhak Benhorin
April 14, 2010
WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the US Administration calls upon all nations to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, including Israel.
Speaking at a press conference end of a nuclear summit in Washington, Obama said that the world was safer today as result of the convention's achievements.
“We have seized the opportunity,” Obama said at the conclusion of a two-day summit on nuclear security in Washington. “The American people will be safer and the world will be more secure.”
When asked about Israel's nuclear program, Obama at first refused to address the issue, instead insisting to talk about the US and its commitment to reducing American nuclear weapon stockpiles.
"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 obligations…as far as Israel goes, I'm not going to comment on their program.
However, although initially saying he will not address Israel's nuclear program, Obama continued, pointing out that the US is calling on all nations to sign the NPT.
"What I'm going to point to is the fact that consistently we have urged all countries to become members of the NPT. So there's no contradiction there," he said. "And so whether we're talking about Israel or any other country, we think that becoming part of the NPT is important. 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."
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