Israeli officials have rebutted claims by King Abdullah II that Israel has tried to thwart Jordan's civilian nuclear energy program, saying it has not intervened and has even provided the Kingdom with material assistance.
In an interview with Agence France-Presse 10 days ago, Abdullah said, "When we started going down the road of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, we approached some highly responsible countries to work with us. And pretty soon we realized that Israel was putting pressure on those countries to disrupt any cooperation with us."
This wasn't the first time Abdullah has leveled such accusations; he made similar claims in an interview with The Wall Street Journal two years ago. But after a round of quiet diplomacy, Israel thought the matter had been settled. So Abdullah's latest accusation - made on the eve of last week's International Atomic Energy Agency conference in Vienna - surprised and angered Israeli nuclear officials.
During the conference, several representatives of Western countries asked the Israeli delegation about Abdullah's accusation. "The Americans and the French knew the Jordanian claims were wrong, but there were more than a few other countries that asked us what we want from the Jordanians," said David Danieli, deputy director of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission.
Due to these inquiries, the Israeli delegation decided it needed to respond officially. So a paragraph on the subject was added to the speech that Shaul Chorev, head of the IAEC, delivered at the conference: "With regards to Jordan's civilian nuclear program, I wish to emphasize that Israel supports the use of nuclear power by its neighbors, to meet their energy and water needs," he said.
"Israel believes in the peaceful use of nuclear energy in the Middle East, as long as states fully honor their international nonproliferation obligations," he continued. "As for the selection of Jordan's nuclear power site, Israel also provided comprehensive geological data to the Kingdom upon its request."
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment