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Secret Israeli-Finnish Nuclear Talks

A senior Finnish diplomat reportedly visited to discuss whether Israel would attend an NPT conference on the Middle East in Helsinki.
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 4/11/2012, 11:04 PM

Sorek Nuclear Reactor
Sorek Nuclear Reactor
Flash 90

Officials from Israel and Finland last week held secret talks on Jerusalem's participation in a conference to ban nuclear arms in the Middle East.

According to reports in Israel's Hebrew-language media, Finnish foreign affairs undersecretary Jaakko Laajava visited Jerusalem to discuss Israel's involvement in the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty conference scheduled to occur in Helsinki late this year, or early next year.

It is widely expected Iran and Arab countries will try to put Israel's unconfirmed nuclear arsenal in the crosshairs. Israel has long maintained a policy of nuclear ambiguity, refusing to confirm or deny it has nuclear weapons.

Israel has traditionally refused to participate in such conferences. However, Israel and the United States are said to be coordinating their positions for the upcoming conference, meaning Israel may choose to attend.

A significant impediment to Israel signing the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – which it has long been pressured to do – is a clause in American law that would terminate all aid to the Jewish state should Israel admit to having nuclear weapons.

Israeli officials repotedly neither agreed nor refused to participate in the conference in their meeting with Laajava.