05/25/2015 05:19 EDT | Updated 05/25/2016 05:59 EDT

Canada helps block UN plan to rid world of nukes, citing defence of Israel

OTTAWA - Israel is thanking Canada for helping to block a major international plan to work towards ridding the world of nuclear weapons.But there is also widespread international disappointment that Canada, which along with Britain, supported the United States in opposing the adoption of the document at the United Nations review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.The document called on the UN to hold a disarmament conference on the Middle East by 2016, but such a conference could have forced Israel to publicly acknowledge that it is a nuclear power — something the Jewish state has never done.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Stephen Harper for what he called Canada's principled stand during a weekend telephone call, according to Harper's office in Ottawa.Austria, which spoke on behalf of 49 countries at last week's conference, said the result spoke to the wide divide over what nuclear disarmament should mean.But former Liberal foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy supported the Conservatives' decision saying that dragging the Middle East issue into the talks was a ploy by some countries to embarrass Israel.