For peaceful purposes, of course. What would the cuddly little Arab states want with nuclear energy except to spread more peace, peace, peace all around? By Abdullah Shihri and Diana Elias for Associated Press, with thanks to James:
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – The oil-rich Arab states on the Persian Gulf announced Sunday that they are considering a shared nuclear program for peaceful purposes.
The statement at the end of a meeting of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council was likely to rachet up concerns about the danger of nuclear weapons spreading in the Middle East.
Iran is now the only Muslim country in the region with a nuclear program, and the U.S. and allies suspect it is secretly developing atomic weapons in violation of treaty commitments.
Israel also has long been thought to have nuclear bombs, a situation confirmed last week by incoming U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
In an October warning about the threat of nuclear arms proliferation, a U.N. watchdog body, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the Arab states of Egypt, Jordan and Yemen were among nations around the world considering developing atomic power programs in the near future.
The Arab states around the Persian Gulf have not previously pursued nuclear power because they possess substantial oil resources and have lacked the scientific know-how, but their statement said they will look into the uses of atomic energy.
“The (leaders) commissioned a study by members of the Gulf Cooperation Council to set up a common program in the area of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, according to international standards and systems,” said the final statement of the two-day summit in the Saudi capital.
The statement read by Abdul Rahman al-Attiyah, secretary general of the political and economic alliance, did not elaborate on the plan by the group “” Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.
“We hope that our statements will not be misunderstood,” Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, told reporters. “This is not a secret and we are doing this out in the open. Our aim is to obtain the technology for peaceful purposes, no more no less.”