Mohammed ElBaradei, general director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, on Tuesday leaves for Israel for two-day talks with the country's leadership focused on the need to crease a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, the IAEA Vienna secretariat reported on Monday.
Simultaneously, ElBaradei will try to persuade Israel to open its nuclear programs for the Agency's inspection.
According to the director, "it is time to find out the real state of things in Israeli nuclear programs". There are "tangible suspicions" of Israel having at least 200 units of nuclear weapons, according to the League of Arab States, yet the country itself neither admits nor denies it. ElBaradei also stressed the need to make the Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction.
"Israel has agreed to my proposal, but insists on its being fulfilled only after a peace treaty has been signed," the IAEA chief said. "At present I believe that it may be worth beginning parallel dialogs on security and a peace treaty," he pointed out.
Mark Gwozdecky, director of the IAEA information and public relations department, told journalists that "ElBaradei's visit to Israel will be partially routine", but the director was "eager to promote his concept of creation of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East".
According to some sources, ElBaradei will be received by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.