PARIS (AFP) Jan 25, 2004
Individuals accused by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf of involvement in nuclear weapons proliferation serve as a front for states involved in leaking secrets, a UN disarmament commissioner said Sunday.
“In reality, these private networks allow states to hide,” Therese Delpech, the French member of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), told Radio France International.
“Naturally, it’s not the Pakistani state that is going to directly sell this information,” she added.
“Private proliferation is often a front for public proliferation,” Delpech charged, also taking China and North Korea to task as sources of technology leaks.
After talks with US Vice President Dick Cheney in the Swiss ski resort of Davos on Saturday, Musharraf said “some individuals” had been involved in proliferation “for personal gains” but denied his government had any role.
His statement came as a probe continued into alleged leaks of nuclear secrets to Iran and Libya.
Delpech singled out Dubai as one of the most world’s “most active centers” for illicit weapons trading, explaining: “There are several weapons businesses there, some of which have for years been handling all kinds of things for Pakistan that went to its nuclear program.”
“When, in October 1990, Pakistan made an offer to Iraq of a centrifuge and a blueprint, it was Dubai that was used as a hub,” the commissioner said, noting that Libya had received the same blueprint once offered to Iraq.
“That is one of the reasons that the IAEA Director General (Mohamed ElBaradei) made such alarmist remarks,” she noted.
In an interview to appear in Monday’s edition of Der Spiegel magazine, ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the danger of nuclear war had never been so great.
“An atomic war will come upon us if we do not agree on a new system of international controls,” he told the German magazine.