Tuesday 30 September 2003

Arabs say world is ignoring Israel's nukes

All nations are equal, but some are more equal than others!

With the world pressing Iran and North Korea to give up nuclear programs, Arab states have criticised the West for allowing Israel to remain outside global nonproliferation regimes.

Israel is widely believed to have nuclear weapons capability but has not signed on to major agreements, including the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which is aimed at curbing the spread of nuclear arms.

"What surprises us is that at a time when the International Atomic Energy Agency is intensifying its efforts and monitoring (NPT) members countries ... we see that it continues to ignore the rejection of Israel in not joining the treaty," Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on Monday.

"This constitutes a serious threat to the security and stability of the whole region," he said.

Under U.S. pressure, the IAEA -- the U.N. nuclear watchdog -- has given Iran until October 31 to prove Tehran's claim that it has no intention of developing nuclear arms and it merely hopes to use nuclear technology to produce electricity.

Meanwhile, the United States, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan have been working to engage Pyongyang in a negotiating process aimed at persuading the North to abandon its nuclear weapons programs.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said: "It is unacceptable that Israel's possession of such weapons should remain a reality that some prefer to ignore or prevent the international community ... from facing it squarely and frankly."

Syria, accused by the United States of developing chemical and biological arms, took aim at both Washington and Israel.

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