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Guardian nukes story 'simply ludicrous'
May 27, 2010 15:15
Ex-South African president denies report Israel tried to sell nukes.
Then South African deputy president F.W. de Klerk

FW de Klerk Mandela 311. (photo credit:Courtesy)

Recent reports that Israel offered to sell nuclear weapons to South Africa are "simply ludicrous," to a FW de Klerk, the last president of apartheid-era South Africa.

The news Web site IOL quoted the Nobel Peace Prize laureate as saying that he had "never been informed of any such developments" as those reported in the Guardian's report earlier this week.

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The Guardian's report, which claims to contain “the first documentary evidence” of Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons, alleges that in 1975, South African Defense Minister PW Botha met secretly with President Shimon Peres, who was then Israel’s defense minister, and asked for nuclear warheads, which Peres allegedly offered “in three sizes.”

The paper wrote that in the same meeting the two also signed a secret, broad-ranging military agreement.

De Klerk flatly denied the story, saying, "I have no reason to question the information that was consistently conveyed to me by the relevant authorities that South Africa developed nuclear weapons on its own."

The former South African president's comments were in line with a sharp denial which Peres issued on Monday, saying that the claims had “no basis in reality.”

Herb Keinon contributed to this report
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  • Shimon Peres
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