- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 4, 2005

EGYPT

IAEA discovers secret nuclear work

VIENNA, Austria — The U.N. atomic watchdog agency has found evidence of secret nuclear experiments in Egypt that could be used in arms programs, diplomats said yesterday.

The diplomats said most of the work was conducted in the 1980s and 1990s but that the International Atomic Energy Agency was looking at evidence that some was performed as recently as a year ago. Cairo said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

One of the diplomats said the Egyptians produced several pounds of uranium metal and uranium tetrafluoride — a precursor to uranium hexafluoride. Uranium metal can be processed into plutonium, and uranium hexafluoride can be enriched into weapons-grade uranium — both used in nuclear warheads.

The diplomat said the Vienna-based IAEA had not yet drawn a conclusion about the scope and purpose of the experiments.

LEBANON

Jordan urges Syrian withdrawal

BEIRUT — Jordanian Foreign Minister Hani Mulki urged Lebanese officials yesterday to heed U.N. Security Council demands for an end to foreign involvement in their internal affairs.

“We think it is extremely important — and I know that the Lebanese recognize this — to implement this resolution,” Mr. Mulki told reporters after talks with his Lebanese counterpart, Mahmoud Hammoud.

But Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, who later received the Jordanian minister, issued a statement insisting that prior Security Council resolutions on the Middle East conflict must be implemented before any talk can begin of applying Resolution 1559 passed in September.

Both Lebanon and Syria demand Israel first heed a series of much older Security Council resolutions calling for its withdrawal from occupied Arab territories, including the Golan Heights.

Weekly notes

Sen. John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who lost the November presidential election to George W. Bush, met Jordan’s King Abdullah II yesterday at the start of a tour of the Middle East expected to include a trip to Iraq to thank U.S. troops for their service. Mr. Kerry is expected to meet with commanders, U.S. Embassy officials and Iraqi government officials in Baghdad as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. … Libya has ordered a $13 million telescope from France that will give it the finest astronomical views in North Africa, the French magazine Ciel et Espace [Sky and Space] reported yesterday. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who has a passionate interest in astronomy, ordered the 6-foot-diameter remote-controlled telescope, the monthly said. Four weather stations around it at a distance of six miles will warn of impending sandstorms that could damage the telescope’s fragile optics.

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