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'Mind your own business.' Abdullah
Photo: AFP
Jordan: Israel undermining nuclear procurement efforts
King Abdullah tells Wall Street Journal Israel 'more worried about us being economically independent than issue of nuclear energy'; claims relations at lowest point since peace agreement

Israel has been pressuring countries such as South Korea and France not to sell nuclear technologies to Jordan, King Abdullah told the Wall Street Journal, adding that the Jewish state's "underhanded" actions have helped bring Jordan-Israeli relations to their lowest point since a 1994 peace agreement.

 

In the interview, published Tuesday, King Abdullah said, "There are countries, Israel in particular, that are more worried about us being economically independent than the issue of nuclear energy, and have been voicing their concerns.

 

"There are many such reactors in the world and a lot more coming, so (the Israelis must) go mind their own business," he was quoted by the WSJ as saying.

 

The newspaper said officials in Jerusalem denied any effort to undermine Jordan's nuclear procurement efforts.

 

According to the report, Jordan's nuclear ambitions are driven by economics, as it is 95% dependent on imported oil and has among the world's smallest reserves of potable water.

 

However, the report said, the discovery of at least 65,000 tons of uranium ore in the deserts outside Amman in 2007 has led King Abdullah to order a drastic reshaping of his nation's economic strategy.

 

Abdullah has already discussed Jordan's plan to construct nuclear power plants for the production of electricity with US President Barack Obama during the Nuclear Security Summit in April.

 

According to the report, on the outskirts of the port city of Aqaba, just miles from the Israeli resort city of Eilat, international contractors have been conducting feasibility studies to gauge whether the site can house Jordan's first nuclear-power reactor.

 

"We are way ahead of Israel" when it comes to securing new reactor technology, King Abdullah told the WSJ. "And if you have the private sector involved in nuclear power, it's difficult to do anything sinister."

 

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