A diplomatic row broke out today between the US and Israel after Washington's chief nuclear arms negotiator called on Israel to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), breaking a US tradition of discretion over Israel's nuclear arsenal.
Israeli officials said they were puzzled by a speech to an international conference in New York by Rose Gottemoeller, an assistant secretary of state, who said: "Universal adherence to the NPT itself - including by India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea - also remains a fundamental objective of the United States."
By including Israel on a list of countries known to have nuclear weapons. Gottemoeller broke with normal US diplomatic practice. Since 1968 when the CIA reported Israel had developed a nuclear weapon , Washington has pursued a policy of not demanding transparency from its close ally, and in return Israel agreed not to test a bomb or declare its nuclear capability - a policy of "strategic ambiguity".