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Israel Expected to Accept Global Ban on Nuclear Tests

Israel is expected to agree to a request by the world’s nuclear powers to abide by a global ban on testing nuclear weapons.

The United States joined France, Great Britain, Russia and China in asking Israel, one of three undeclared nuclear powers, to accept the ban.

The move, which also targets India and Pakistan, comes less than two weeks before talks are scheduled to open on an international nuclear test ban treaty.

A summit on the issue is scheduled for June 28 in Geneva.

On Monday, the Jewish state applied for and was accepted to sit on the United Nations Conference on Disarmament.

The conference, which is also rallying support for a moratorium on nuclear tests, has begun drafting a resolution to that effect.

While Israel has never acknowledged having nuclear weapons, Western intelligence officials believe that the Jewish state maintains an arsenal of at least two dozen warheads.

The negotiations over the test ban have not changed Israel’s official line that it will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East, an Israeli official here said.

Israel apparently is seeking to avoid a similar flap, which occurred in 1994, when it refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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