Algeria and Pakistan are blocking Israel's attempt to join an international conference on chemical weapons, an Israeli diplomat said Wednesday.
Israel in June submitted its application to join the 40-nation Conference on Disarmament, which officially accepts new participants only by consensus. The conference concludes its summer session Thursday.Pinhas Eliav, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said officials told him that Algeria, "helped to a certain degree by Pakistan," opposed Israel's bid for observer status. The two other Arab members, Egypt and Morocco, did not raise objections, he added.
The request still is pending, and Israel plans to pursue it when delegates reconvene in February.
"We didn't want to press it too much because we didn't think it was worth it," Eliav told the AP.
Israeli officials say one reason for the application is concern over the spread of chemical weapons in the Middle East.
Western diplomats will lobby Arab delegations in the conference recess in an effort to obtain a consensus because "it would not be productive" to force the issue to a vote now, U.S. Ambassador Max Friedersdorf said.