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1m@@n
05-10-2006, 01:10 PM
UK denies illegally helping Israel to obtain nuclear arms

10-05-2006


London, IRNA:


The British government has denied that it illegally helped the Zionist regime develop its stockpile of nuclear weapons outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty but refuses to detail any related material or technology it may have supplied.

"There are a large number of publications available on the history of Israel's nuclear program," Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells said in response to a question asking what assistance the UK has provided.

"The Government is content that at no time has the United Kingdom breached its international obligations regarding the proliferation of nuclear weapons," Howells said in a written parliamentary reply published Tuesday.

According to records recently uncovered by the BBC, Britain helped Israel develop nuclear arms starting nearly 50 years ago when it secretly shipped heavy water and plutonium to speed up its program.

The UK also regularly exports arms and related materials to Israel, including equipment in its military list that are subject to licences even though it breaches guidelines that the equipment must not be used for internal repression or external aggression.

In a separate parliamentary reply, Howells insisted that the British government "continues to support the principle of establishing a Middle East nuclear weapons free zone."

"Concerns surrounding Iran's nuclear program have renewed international interest in the establishment of such a zone and, in the context of wider regional security, the issue has formed part of our regular discussions with many countries," he said.

He told MPs that the UK had also raised the issue of establishing a Middle East nuclear free zone "in numerous high-level bilateral contacts in the run-up to last year's Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference."

Last week, the UK government rejected a call to take Israel to the UN Security Council over its illegal stockpile of nuclear weapons and seek its participation under the Non-Poliferation Treaty (NPT).

"We do not have any plans to make representations to the UNSC about Israel's participation in the NPT as we believe this can be best pursued though bilateral contacts," Foreign Office Minister Lord Triesman told peers in the House of Lords on May 3.

In a parliamentary written question published Thursday, former BBC director-general Lord Dykes urged the UK to make representations to the Security Council with regard to its nuclear arsenal, which he said remained "outside international supervision."

His call, he said, was linked with the current UN pressure on Iran to ensure compliance with the International Atomic Energy Agency's procedures and NPT obligations.

Many politicians, academics and human rights groups have accused the British government of double standards in singling out Iran over its civilian nuclear program without first addressing the illegal stockpile of nuclear weapons held by Israel for decades.
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