Obama reaffirms U.S. ambiguity on Israel nukes

WASHINGTON (JTA) – President Obama said he will not press Israel when it comes to nuclear issues.

"The United States will never ask Israel to take any steps that would undermine its security interests," Obama said Tuesday after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, referring to a conversation they had on Obama’s efforts to have more countries abide by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Israeli officials had raised concerns after a U.S.-hosted conference in May concluded with an agreement to consider the issue of Israel. U.S. officials later said that the issue should be considered only subsequent to a comprehensive, permanent peace, which is Israel’s position.

The United States and Israel have a longstanding agreement to maintain ambiguity on Israel’s nuclear capacity. Israel is believed to maintain an arsenal of up to 200 nuclear warheads.

Netanyahu thanked Obama for "reaffirming the longstanding U.S. commitments to Israel on matters of vital strategic importance."

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