AMMAN // Israel is waging a campaign to block Jordan's nuclear energy ambitions, Jordan's King Abdullah II said yesterday.
The king, whose country needs atomic energy to meet its energy needs and power water desalination plants, said "strong opposition to Jordan's nuclear energy programme is coming from Israel".
"When we started going down the road of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, we approached some highly responsible countries to work with us. And pretty soon we realised that Israel was putting pressure on those countries to disrupt any cooperation with us," the king said.
"A Jordanian delegation would approach a potential partner, and one week later an Israeli delegation would be there, asking our interlocutors not to support Jordan's nuclear energy bid," King Abdullah said.
Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994.
"Against this backdrop, I feel that those who oppose our peaceful nuclear programme for all the wrong reasons are furthering Israeli interests more efficiently than Israel could ever do," the king said.
An Israeli official in Jerusalem dismissed the charge.
"The king's accusations sound [like] a hollow excuse," the official said. "We were consulted and we always said that of course if this was done according to NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty] regulations and supervision and everything, then fine, we have no objection."
Jordan, which imports 95 per cent of its energy needs, is struggling to find alternatives to Egyptian gas, which normally covers 80 per cent of power production.