Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton on Tuesday expressed concern over what he says is pressure being exerted by President Barack Obama on Israel to rid the country of nuclear weapons.
“Egypt and the Obama administration are negotiating right now on an Egyptian proposal for a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East, which certainly sounds good, except when you think about it, there is only one country that resolution is targeted at and that is Israel,” Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute think tank in Washington, told Army Radio.
“When I was in the Bush administration we refused to even talk about these kinds of ideas,” he said. “I’d be quite worried about the possible outcome there.”
“The president is not happy with Israel’s nuclear capabilities. I think he would be delighted if Israel gave up its nuclear weapons,” Bolton asserted. “The only unknown answer at this point is exactly how much pressure he would exert on Israel to do just that. Part of that pressure is being exerted right now, by even considering the possibility of a conference on a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East.”
Israel is widely believed to have a stockpile of nuclear weapons, but the government maintains a policy of ambiguity on the issue.
Bolton also expressed dismay at the fact that the UN hosted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference on Monday, but said that it was business as usual.
“This is nothing exceptional for the UN, this is the way the UN is day in and day out,” Bolton told the radio station. “This is not some isolated problem we could fix with the UN by banning the likes of Ahmadinejad, this is the way the organization works.
“The only good thing I could say about it is that he [Ahmadinejad] typically says such ridiculous things that I’m not sure he doesn’t pose more problems for his own position by coming than by not coming,” Bolton said.
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