Jordan kept up Arab pressure on Israel on Tuesday to sign the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, saying Israel's possession of atomic bombs was the reason for the spread of chemical weapons in the Middle East.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Kasim told a 140-nation Paris conference on banning chemical weapons that Israel - which does not admit having nuclear arms - should sign the treaty and permit inspection of its capabilities."The introduction of new weapons to our region is a consequence of Israel's possession of nuclear weapons and the ensuing sense of insecurity to all states and peoples in the region," Kasim said.
Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran and Israel are all accused of possessing chemical weapons. Iraq's use of poison gas in its war with Iran has been documented by the United Nations.
Libya, however, flatly denies American charges that it has built a large chemical weapons plant. Speaking at the conference on Monday, Libyan Foreign Minister Jaddallah Azzouz al-Talhi said the U.S. fleet, which shot down two Libyan planes last Wednesday, was threatening a full-scale attack.
In an interview with the French daily Le Figaro, Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze was quoted on Tuesday as saying he had not been convinced by evidence against Libya displayed in Paris by his U.S. counterpart, George Shultz.