Sharon: Israel concerned about Libya efforts to acquire nuclear weapons; Tripoli: Sharon suffers from '\'hysteria'\'
Libya may be the first Arab state to have nuclear weapons, Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Wednesday night in an interview to the public TV.
North Korea, Iraq and maybe Pakistan are helping Libya to develop new weapons, perhaps with Saudi Arabian money, Sharon said.
"Libya is becoming perhaps a more dangerous country than we thought," he said. "Libya may be the first [Arab] country with weapons of mass destruction." Asked what kind of weapons of mass destruction Libya was seeking, Sharon replied "Probably the worst kind."
He did not elaborate, but military analysts say nuclear weapons present a much more serious threat than chemical or biological weapons.
"We know who is working with the Libyans, who's helping them, we know there are Iraqi experts in the country and it's possible they are financed by Saudi money in collaboration with Pakistan and North Korea," he said.
Sharon said Israel is concerned about the threat posed by Libya, and it is gathering intelligence about it and is making preparations to meet the threat. "We are studying the (Libyan) issue," he said.
In a recent report to Congress, CIA Director Tenet said Libya had a nuclear research program but would "require significant foreign assistance to advance a nuclear weapons option." The report added that Libya was dependent on foreign suppliers for material to produce chemical-weapons related equipment.
For its part, Libya accused Sharon of suffering from "hysteria." A Libyan foreign ministry official, Hassuna Shaush, denounced Sharon comments as full of "stupidity and hysterical character," adding the north African country does not have the money to build a program for weapons of mass destruction.
Shaush said Sharon had "presented Washington with false information to stir up bad feeling between Arabs and the United States." He called on the international community to confront Israel on its own program for weapons of mass destruction. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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