Peres warns of dangers of nuclear Middle East

At meeting with Austrian FM, president cautions against foot-dragging on Ahmadinejad issue.

By BY GREER FAY CASHMAN
February 17, 2010 13:34
1 minute read.
President Shimon Peres shakes hands with Austrian

peres spindelegger 311. (photo credit: AP)

If the world does not unite to stop Iran's nuclear program, the upshot will be a nuclear Middle East, where ongoing conflicts will be accompanied by nuclear bombs, President Shimon Peres warned on Wednesday during a working meeting with Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger.

Peres said that he was surprised by the foot-dragging of the international community, which still seems reluctant to recognize Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for what he is – "a dictator and a murderer who hangs people in the streets, shoots at unarmed civilians, calls for the destruction of a nation and travels the world as if he was a legitimate leader.”

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Spindelegger said that the urgency of the Iranian issue was understood in Europe as was the need to act in response to statements made by Ahmadinejad. "There is no other way," he said. Spindelegger pledged that Austria, as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, would take constructive measures to ensure that sanctions are imposed on Iran. He was hopeful that the Security Council would not delay in its discussions of effective sanctions.  He also promised that Austria would work within the European Union towards the advancement of such discussions.

In expressing appreciation to the Austrian Foreign Minister, Peres said that the moral voice of Europe was of the utmost importance, and must be heard.

Spindelegger is continuing his tour of the Middle East, and is proceeding from Israel to Syria and Lebanon. Peres asked him to assure Syria that Israel has no intention of engaging in another war and would much prefer to enter into direct peace negotiations without any pre-conditions.


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