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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 December 2006, 16:59 GMT
Gulf states announce nuclear plan
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia attends the Gulf Co-operation Council meeting
Gulf states say they will explore nuclear energy for peaceful aims
Six oil-rich Gulf nations have said they are considering seeking nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Officials from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE also urged a peaceful settlement to the crisis over Iran's nuclear programme.

The six Arab states said they were exploring the possibility of creating a shared nuclear programme.

They stressed their right to nuclear energy and emphasised that any programme would be peaceful.

Officials from the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) - a grouping of regional states - have been meeting in Riyadh.

A GCC statement released on Sunday said: "The states of the region have a right to possess nuclear technology for peaceful purposes."

'No threat'

GCC members have expressed concern over neighbouring Iran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, but the Saudi foreign minister denied that the move was in reaction to the Iran crisis.

"It is not a threat... It is an announcement so that there will be no misinterpretation for what we are doing," Prince Saud al-Faisal told reporters.

The US and other Western countries say that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.

The grouping of Gulf states said they wanted a region free of weapons of destruction and called on Israel to renounce nuclear weapons.




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