Israel Seeks Egypt Arms Control Talks

Published May 11th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Israel is prepared to conduct talks with Egypt about arms control, in which the two countries will present their differing views, the daily Haaretz reported Thursday. 

The two countries will try to set an agenda for multilateral talks on arms control and regional security, which have been frozen for the past five years due to Egyptian demands to talk about Israeli nuclear disarmament, and the refusal of Israeli officials to discuss the issue. 

During a visit to Cairo on Monday, Foreign Ministry deputy Yoav Biran conveyed Israel's readiness to discuss the nuclear issue to the head of Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa's office, the daily added.  

Meanwhile, The United States has been pressuring Israel to start quiet arms talks with Egypt, and an international conference in Moscow last February called for both sides to agree on an agenda for discussions. 

Tensions ran high in Israel following a meeting of the signatories to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) this month when the US appeared on the verge of singling out Israel for its refusal to sign the treaty, essentially a commitment to nuclear disarmament, Haaretz said. 

Israeli foreign minister David Levy expressed deep concern over the possibility of being singled out in the NPT conference in a letter last week to US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. 

Hoping to defuse the issue, Israel has decided to demonstrate flexibility, allowing arms talks to commence with Egypt while maintaining its traditional guidelines of refusal to consider disarmament before a stable peace is achieved in the Middle East, the daily added - Albawaba.com 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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