Toppmøtet i Den arabiske liga i Riyadh ble enige om å se nærmere på muligheten for et arabisk atomprogram, som var på Israel og Irans atomplaner.

Arab leaders pushed ahead Thursday with plans to develop nuclear programs, even as they warned of a possible Middle East nuclear arms race created by their powerful rivals

On the final day of their annual summit, Arab League leaders said they would hold a high-level meeting this summer to review plans for an Arab nuclear industry.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II called in a speech for the creation of a «Peaceful Arab Center for Using Nuclear Energy» to help «build our societies and modernize the realms of science, industry, agriculture and health.»

Wael al-Assad, the league’s official in charge of preparations for the meeting, said closer nuclear cooperation was prompted by fear of Israel’s nuclear weapons, and Iran’s escalation of its program.

«For the first time Arabs are showing real interest in developing nuclear industry but further steps depend on their political will,» he told The Associated Press.

Asked whether his kingdom would consider seeking nuclear weapons of its own if Iran acquired a bomb, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal told the AP: «We have made it very clear that we are not going down that road under any circumstances.»

He then added, «under any foreseeable circumstances.»

Irans utenriksminister Mottaki foreslo at araberlandene samarbeider med Iran om et atomprogram og endog en militærpakt. Men tilbudet falt på stengrunn.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, a guest at the summit, dismissed Arabs’ fears as being caused by American «war drummers» and said Iran was prepared to cooperate with Arab countries in developing their nuclear programs.

In an interview with the AP, he even suggested Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries set up a military pact with Iran to «ensure further regional cooperation.»

Det er liten tvil om at de såkalt sunni-moderate statene er alarmert over borgerkrigen i Irak, og Irans økende innflytelse, også i Libanon og Gaza.

Relanseringen av fredsplanen for Israel/palestinerne er et forsøk på å utnytte et mulig vindu, der Hamas/Fatah er tvunget til samarbeid og Israel kan være åpen for en løsning. Både sunni-araberne og Israel frykter Iran mest.

Arab leaders warn of Mideast arms race

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