An Arab League foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo Wednesday, Sept. 6, turned its attention to Iran’s nuclear aspirations and decided how to respond.
The meeting ended with this statement:
The Council stressed the importance of the development of peaceful uses of atomic energy in the Arab countries as a right, since they have signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The ministers call on Arab countries to embark on the expansion of the peaceful use of nuclear techniques in all fields that serve sustainable development in keeping with commitments to international conventions.
The Arab ministers called for the establishment of institutions concerned with the peaceful use of nuclear energy in every Arab country and the teaching of science and nuclear techniques in Arab universities.
This bland communique did not represent the real business of the meeting.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s Middle East sources report the Arab foreign ministers also passed a secret motion, Resolution No. K6688, providing a more practical Pan-Arab rejoinder to Iran’s nuclear program.
We reveal here the six key clauses of that resolution:
1. An all-Arab nuclear experts’ commission will be appointed and given six months to compile a long-term program for promoting nuclear research in the Arab world up until 2020.
2. The Arab nations will build as many large nuclear reactors for research as possible. They will be larger than the conventional 2-megawatt reactors used for research.
3. Arab universities will increase fivefold the size of their student bodies, while also expanding by the same proportion the number of Arab students sent to institutions of higher learning in the West to study nuclear physics and nuclear engineering.
4. Arab governments agree to enlarge their budgets and earmark more funds to Arab League foundations for developing the peaceful uses of nuclear products.
5. Another commission of nuclear experts will prepare a plan to ascertain full coordination between nuclear research programs and nuclear installations built in Arab countries.
6. Arab governments will continue to press in international bodies for a nuclear-free Middle East.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s sources report that this plan of action was approved in secret telephone conversations between the Saudi King Abdullah and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Abdullah pledged all the funds necessary as soon as the agreed program is approved and gets started.
Never before has the Arab League discussed the nuclear issue. This was also the first time in the organization’s history that Arab foreign ministers ever agreed on concerted action to acquire nuclear reactors and infrastructure.