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EGYPT - Oct 18 - Egypt Angry At EU Block To Nuclear Free Zone.

Egypt has sent a high-level protest to dozens of European countries expressing "astonishment and regret" at their refusal to endorse Cairo's call for a Middle East nuclear free zone at a conference last month. "Egypt is unaware of the substantive reasons that led to such a decision being taken by your country and I would therefore greatly appreciate your views on the matter", said the letter. The letter, which was made available on Oct 17 to The AP, also asks for an explanation. The October 4 letter, signed by Egyptian FM Ahmad Aboul Gaith, was an unusual reflection of rancour on the part of Cairo with the decision by most EU countries and aspiring members to move away from their traditional support of such a zone. Tension It also highlighted the tensions over the issue. Egypt and other Muslim countries consider Israel the main nuclear threat in the region. The US and its allies see Iran's defiance of the UN Security Council in its development of technology that could be used to make the bomb as the greatest menace to Middle East peace. European countries at past conferences of the IAEA have voted in favour of establishing a nuclear zone free. But at last month's session, 25 of the 27 EU countries abstained on the resolution as did other countries hoping to join the union.
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:7EGYP
Date:Oct 20, 2007
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