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NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Friday, January 19, 2007


Tel Aviv, 19 Jan. (AKI) - Jordan plans to develop a nuclear programme for civilian use, the country's King Abdullah has told an Israeli newspaper. "The Egyptians are looking for a nuclear programme. The GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] are looking at one, and we are actually looking at nuclear power for peaceful and energy purposes. We've been discussing it with the West," the monarch was quoted as saying in an interview published on Tel Aviv-based daily Haaretz's website.

"I personally believe that any country that has a nuclear programme should conform to international regulations and should have international regulatory bodies that check to make sure that any nuclear programme moves in the right direction," Abdullah said.

The Jordanian king also warned that unless all sides in the Middle East conflict move quickly toward a peace settlement in the region, the situation could worsen dramatically.

"The frequency of conflict in this region is extremely alarming, and the perception, I believe, among Arabs, and partly among Israelis, is that in the summer Israel lost this round... And that creates a very difficult and a very dangerous precedence for radical thinking in the area. The stakes are getting higher and higher.

"So this is an opportunity to reach out to each other and make sure that the crisis of this summer doesn't happen again. If we don't move the peace process forward, it's only a matter of time until there is a conflict between Israel and somebody else in the region. And I think it's coming sooner rather than later," he said.

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