CAIRO: Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit on Sunday warned of a possible nuclear race between Iran and Israel in the Middle East region.
In an interview with the Egyptian official TV Channel One before flying to the United States for a nuclear summit, Abul Gheit insisted that Israel must join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), while urging Iran not to try to possess nuclear weapons.
"If Iran becomes nuclear, that will lead to the spread of nuclear weapons in the region," said the minister, stressing that in such a case the Arab world might be compelled to join a nuclear race.
Abul Gheit underlined the need to reach a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear program issue, downplaying the effect of international sanctions on Iran.
"Egypt believes that any military action against Iran will have very serious consequences on the entire region," Abul Gheit said.
Abul Gheit will arrive in Washington late Sunday to attend the U.S.-hosted nuclear security summit, which is aimed to set up a mechanism preventing nuclear weapons from reaching dangerous hands.
The Egyptian top diplomat asserted in the interview that Egypt does not want any nuclear power in the Middle East region.
He said there is no Islamic nuclear bomb on the ground, ruling out the possibility of a nuclear bomb being used to serve Arab interests.
"The issue is not controlled by emotions or an Islamic dimension, but is rather rooted in national interests for each country," he added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to cancel a planned trip to Washington for the nuclear summit, worrying that a group of Muslim states, led by Egypt and Turkey, would demand at the summit that Israel sign the international Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty.
Israel is among only a few countries that are not party to the NPT, and is expected to be the only Middle East country in possession of nuclear weapons.