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U.S. AIMS TO LIMIT ARMS IN MIDEAST

Defense Secretary Dick Cheney met with Egypt's new foreign minister, Amr Moussa, and told reporters later the United States will try to control the burgeoning of arsenals in the Middle East.

"The United States is committed to try to find a way to limit proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in Middle East," Cheney said Sunday, a day after he announced the United States will start stockpiling arms in Israel, an important U.S. ally.He voiced support for President Hosni Mubarak's ideas to set up a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, and reiterated that he has no idea whether Israel has any nuclear weapons.

"Israel has never said it has nuclear weapons. Our concern is to find a way to push the peace process and security in the Middle East," he said.

The U.S. official denied that stockpiling weapons in Israel constituted a new agreement between the two countries and said that such a program was authorized by Congress at least two years ago.

The announcement on stockpiling weapons in Israel raised fears among Israel's Arab neighbors about the military superiority such a program would give to the Jewish state, which is already bristling with U.S.-supplied arms and missiles.

Cheney said that Bush's new proposals did not mean that the United States would stop providing arms for its allies in the Middle East.