Egypt urges patience over Iran nuke case

Jan. 17, 2006 at 9:52 AM
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CAIRO, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Hours after U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney held talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt called for patience in dealing with Iran's nuclear issue.

Presidential Spokesman Suleiman Awwad told reporters Tuesday that Cheney sought the support of Egypt, which is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Governors' Council, for referring Iran's nuclear issue to the United Nations Security Council.

He said the Egyptian government advises patience and "will wait to see if there is consensus over the referral.

"Cairo cannot support any decision if it is not taken in line with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and if dual-standards are applied," Awwad said.

He stressed that Egypt "cannot also ignore its essential stance that rejects focusing on Iran's nuclear program without looking at Israel's nuclear arsenal."

Awwad also called on the Iranian government to "show more flexibility and cooperation" with the international community, stressing that Egypt urges continuation of dialogue and patience with Tehran.

On Monday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Ghait said his country backs a peaceful settlement of Iran's nuclear case through the continuation of negotiations, but stressed that Egypt will not accept the rise of a nuclear military force in the Middle East.

The European troika negotiating with Iran -- France, Germany, and Britain -- Monday called for an emergency meeting of the IAEA on Feb. 2 and 3 to discuss referring Iran to the Security Council.

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