Amr Moussa
Photo: Reuters
Arab League chief warns of Mideast arms race
Amr Moussa regrets IAEA decision not to impose regulators on Israeli nuclear facilities, says it is 'inconceivable that only one country will have nuclear weapons,' calls for WMD-free Middle East

WASHINGTON – Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa commented on the IAEA decision not to monitor Israeli nuclear facilities warning that "if Israel maintains its nuclear (facilities) the Middle East is heading towards an arms race."


Speaking at a press conference in New York City Friday, Moussa added that "It is inconceivable that only one country (in the region) will have nuclear weapons. Why should Israel be the only one? The Middle East should be free of all weapons of mass destruction."


Just last month, the Arab League demanded in a letter that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitor Israel's nuclear facilities. The letter said the Arab League "implores Israel to join the nuclear non proliferation treaty and allow for external monitoring of its nuclear sites."


Turning his attention to the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and the settlement freeze, Moussa said that "everything now depends on the settlement freeze."


The issue, he said, will be indicative of Israel's earnestness and whether US President Barack Obama would be able to see the negotiation through the harder stages of discussing core issues.


"If (Obama) cannot tell the Israelis to stop settlement construction, will he be able to tell them to compromise on core issues?"


Moussa was quick to tone down his statement, adding he had "every faith in Obama's ability."


Commenting on Obama's remarks regarding the Jewish people's historic link to Israel, Moussa said that "throughout history, this was always Arab land."


The success of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, he concludes, "Would have a positive effect on Syria and Lebanon and the entire atmosphere in the Middle East. Everyone will see it can work and it will lead to positive steps all around."



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