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Moussa urges Israel to give up nuclear weapons

By John Keating (with photos) PARIS, Feb 2 (KUNA) -- Visiting Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said here on Tuesday that the international community must insist with Israel that it renounce its nuclear weapons and become part of a nuclear-free Middle East.
In an exclusive interview with KUNA, Moussa said that he believed Israel could be made to comply and join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and commit to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections.
Israel refuses to divulge any information on its nuclear programs, but it is believed to have more than 200 nuclear warheads which it developed after a transfer of technology by France in the 1960s.
"Feasible or not, we have to insist on the establishment of an Israel free of nuclear weapons in the Middle East," he said in an interview on the sidelines of the "Global Zero" conference here on nuclear disarmament.
"And if Israel is afraid that Arab powers are going to be nuclear, etcetera, and threatening them, the point is that no country would have the right to have nuclear weapons once we declare such a zone," the Arab League chief affirmed.
Moussa said that he felt there was hope of pressuring Israel and that this kind of pressure was coming from a variety of sources.
Asked who would best be qualified to pressure Israel on its nuclear weapons, Moussa simply replied, "the international community".
Pressed on whether there was real hope that such pressure would bring results, he remarked: "Yes, of course, there is hope," noting the "reaction to the arguments in favour of Israel have been composed from several quarters in the conference." Asked about nuclear developments in Iran, he pointed out that the Iranian context would also be covered by the nuclear-free zone proposal that is supported by Arab nations.
"The Iranian dynamic could be also dealt with through the establishment of a zone free from nuclear weapons. But you cannot say there is an Iranian dynamic and we have to deal with it and totally ignore the Israeli dynamic," he told KUNA.
"This is our argument. As long as you say we dont need a military nuclear program, so why do you tolerate the Israeli program," he asked.
He warned that there would certainly be proliferation if no solution was found to the nuclear problem, irrespective of what happens in the Middle East conflict.
"It is not a danger of proliferation. There will be (proliferation) as long as there is no solution to the nuclear problem. Not the Middle East situation, but the nuclear problem," he emphasized in the interview. (end) jk.mt KUNA 021851 Feb 10NNNN