In an address to the NPT conference on May 5, Ms. Gottemoeller said the
Obama administration would launch a renewed effort to win Israeli agreement
to join NPT, which includes 189 countries including Iran. She did not
In 1998, India and Pakistan conducted nuclear explosions. In 2006, North
Korea, three years after withdrawing from NPT, staged a nuclear test.
Israel has refused to sign NPT, saying this must wait until peace with
the Arab world. The Jewish state has never denied nor confirmed reports that
it has up to 200 nuclear weapons.
"We must strengthen the NPT to deal effectively with the threat of
nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism," Obama said in a message read to the
conference. "Action is needed to improve verification and compliance with
the NPT and to foster the responsible and widest possible use of nuclear
energy by all states."
Officials said Obama was expected to discuss Israel's nuclear program
during his meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on May 18. They
said the administration plans to intensify diplomacy for nuclear
"The administration of President Barack Obama was encouraging all
holdouts to join the treaty," Ms. Gottemoeller said.
Obama has been urged by aides to press Israel to sign the NPT as part of
any plan to end Iran's uranium enrichment program. In 2005, Ms. Gottemoeller
co-authored a study titled "Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear
Security," which called for Israel to dismantle nuclear weapons in exchange
for an end to Arab and Iranian weapons of mass destruction programs.
"Instead of defensively trying to ignore Israels nuclear status, the
United States and Israel should proactively call for regional dialogue to
specify the conditions necessary to achieve a zone free of nuclear,
chemical, and biological weapons," Ms. Gottemoeller wrote.