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Israel: Netanyahu Will Not Attend U.S. Nuclear Summit

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli officials say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cancelled a planned visit to Washington to attend a nuclear security summit hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Israeli officials are quoted as saying Netanyahu made the decision after learning that Egypt and Turkey may have been planning to use his appearance at the conference to call on Israel to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to open its nuclear facilities to international inspection.

Officials said Israel will instead be represented at next week's meeting by Intelligence And Atomic Energy Minister Dan Meridor.

Israel has never confirmed or denied that it possesses atomic weapons, but it is believed to be the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East.

More than 40 countries are expected at the Washington meeting, which officials say will focus on blocking the spread of nuclear weapons to militant groups.

compiled from agency reports