News



DATE=5/30/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-233067
TITLE=PAKISTAN / MIDDLE EAST REACT (L ONLY)
BYLINE=SCOTT BOBB
DATELINE=CAIRO
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  OFFICIAL REACTION TO PAKISTAN'S NUCLEAR TESTS HAS BEEN 
RESTRAINED IN THE MIDDLE EAST, BUT COMMENTARY IN THE NEWS MEDIA 
HAS BEEN EXTENSIVE AND WIDE RANGING. CORRESPONDENT SCOTT BOBB HAS
A SAMPLE OF THE RESPONSE FROM THE REGION IN THIS REPORT FROM OUR 
MIDDLE EAST BUREAU IN CAIRO.
 
TEXT:  ONE OF THE FIRST OFFICIAL RESPONSES TO PAKISTAN'S NUCLEAR 
TESTS CAME FROM THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE ARAB LEAGUE, ESMAT 
ABDEL MEGUID, WHO CALLED THE TESTS A DANGEROUS STEP. HE SAID THEY
UNDERMINE STABILITY AND ENCOURAGE A REGIONAL ARMS RACE.
 
A SPOKESMAN FOR THE FOREIGN MINISTRY OF IRAN ECHOED THE 
SENTIMENT, SAYING THE TESTS COULD HAVE A DESTRUCTIVE IMPACT ON 
WORLD SECURITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT.  THE IRANIAN OFFICIAL BLAMED 
THE SITUATION ON THE ABSENCE OF AN ALL-INCLUSIVE NUCLEAR 
DISARMAMENT PROGRAM.
 
EGYPT'S FOREIGN MINISTER AMR MOUSSA WAS MORE BLUNT, SAYING THAT 
WITH  PAKISTAN'S NUCLEAR TESTS, THE NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION 
TREATY WAS, IN HIS WORDS, GONE WITH THE WIND.  AND HE URGED ALL 
NATIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST, IN PARTICULAR ISRAEL, TO SIGN THE 
TREATY.
 
EDITORIAL COMMENT IN THE REGION ALSO FOCUSED ON THE FACT THAT 
MOST GOVERNMENTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST HAVE SIGNED THE NUCLEAR 
NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY, WHILE ISRAEL HAS NOT.  MANY PUBLISHED 
UNCONFIRMED NEWS REPORTS THAT ISRAEL HAS AT LEAST ONE HUNDRED 
NUCLEAR WARHEADS.  AS A RESULT, SOME, LIKE QATAR'S AL-RAYA 
NEWSPAPER, CALLED THE PAKISTANI TESTS A COURAGEOUS MOVE BY A 
MUSLIM COUNTRY TO MAINTAIN SOME KIND OF STRATEGIC BALANCE WITH 
ISRAEL.
 
THE AL-KHALEEJ NEWSPAPER OF THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, 
SAID ARAB NATIONS HAD FAILED TO KEEP PACE WITH ISRAEL MILITARILY 
AND IT HOPED THE TESTS WOULD LEAD TO A STRATEGIC BALANCE WHICH 
WOULD BOLSTER MIDDLE EAST PEACE EFFORTS.
 
MANY NEWSPAPERS, LIKE SAUDI ARABIA'S AL-BILAD, EXPRESSED FEARS 
THAT THE TESTS BY PAKISTAN AND INDIA, WILL RAISE TENSIONS IN THE 
REGION, AND, LIKE RIYAHD'S AL-MEDINA NEWSPAPER, SAID THEY MIGHT 
PRESS ISRAEL TO DEVELOP A NUCLEAR BOMB.  A NUMBER OF OUTLETS, 
LIKE EGYPT'S AL-AHRAM NEWSPAPER AND LIBYA'S JANA NEWS AGENCY, 
CRITICIZED THE ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST PAKISTAN AND INDIA 
ANNOUNCED BY SEVERAL WESTERN GOVERNMENTS.  THEY SAID IT WAS 
IRONIC THESE SANCTIONS CAME FROM GOVERNMENTS WHICH THEMSELVES 
CONTINUE TO STOCKPILE HUNDREDS OF NUCLEAR WARHEADS. 
 
JORDAN'S AL DUSTOUR NEWSPAPER EXPRESSED THE CONCERN OF MANY, 
HOWEVER, SAYING THE REPERCUSSIONS OF THE PAKISTANI AND INDIAN 
NUCLEAR TESTS COULD EVENTUALLY REACH THE MIDDLE EAST. 

 NEVERTHELESS, MANY EXPRESSED A SENSE OF PRIDE, AS SEEN IN THE 
FRONT PAGE HEADLINE OF THE LONDON-BASED, ARABIC LANGUAGE DAILY --
AL-HAYAT -- WHICH PROCLAIMED: PAKISTAN, THE SEVENTH NUCLEAR POWER
IN THE WORLD, AND THE FIRST IN THE ISLAMIC WORLD. (SIGNED)
 
NEB/SB/DW

30-May-98 1:50 PM EDT (1750 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.