Argentina concerned on Brazil's nuclear program

The Brazilian Minister of Science said that his country should "handle the atomic technology" and know how to produce atomic bombs.
The new Brazilian Minister of Science and Technology, Roberto Amaral, shook the South American and international media after announcing his Government was interested on developing a nuclear program to "handle such technology". In confusing declarations, Amaral said: "We are against the atomic bomb, wherever it comes from: Brazil, Argentina, USA or Israel". However, he added: "there cannot be limits to the knowledge" and puzzled local and foreign authorities.

As the polemic declarations may provoke a reaction from Brazil's neighbors and the international community, the Foreign Minister Celso Amorim consulted his colleague and said Amaral did not mean Brazil was interested on developing an atomic bomb. "We will keep on fighting for the world nuclear disarming", said Amorim to the press. The problem with Amaral declarations is that he actually said what he says he didn't said. On Monday, the BBC correspondent to Brasilia asked him if he was of the idea that his country should eventually has the know-how to produce atomic bombs. His answer was very clear: "I agree, I agree", he said.

If Brazil plans to have the bomb, then would alter the military equilibrium in the region and may face a diplomatic reaction from its Mercosur partners. Argentina, as well as Brazil, already handles atomic energy, but with pacific purposes. If its neighbor plans to develop massive destruction weapons, then the Argentine militaries would push their civil authorities to follow Brazil's path.

Sources in the Argentine Army confirmed to PRAVDA.Ru that even in peacetime, Brazil and Chile are always targets for military actions and the Armed Forces have defensive plans to neutralize hypothetical neighbor attacks. This is mere speculation as an armed conflict in the region is unthinkable with democratic governments.

Notwithstanding, Foreign Officers in Buenos Aires became puzzled by Amaral declarations. "Argentina and Brazil have several mutual agreements, which forbid nuclear development for military purposes and allow mutual controls on this subject", said a source at the Foreign Ministry to the Argentine newspaper Clarin.

Analysts are also concerned on Brazil's rocket launching programs. Brazil has initiated negotiations to develop a new space program with Ukraine and has a base in country's NorthEast to launch satellites. The combination of both capabilities: atomic power and rocket launching is what Argentina is scared of.

This situation will be surely discussed on the next summit between Brazil's Lula and Argentina's Duhalde in Brasilia, next June 14. There is also scheduled a meeting between Foreign and Defense Ministers for January, as Carlos Ruckauf, Argentine FM's head confirmed to this correspondent last week.

Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina

Photo (AP): Presidents of Brazil (left) and Argentina (right)

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