Egypt was offered nuclear weapons, material and expertise on the black market after the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to a senior Egyptian diplomat.
The information was revealed to US nuclear arms control negotiator, Rose Gottemoeller, by Egypt's UN ambassador Maged Abdelaziz, in May 2009, on the sidelines of a Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty conference in New York.
In a cable leaked to The Guardian, Gottemoeller's associates wrote that "in an apparent attempt to portray Egypt as a responsible member of the international community, Abdelaziz claimed that Egypt had been offered nuclear scientists, materials and even weapons, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, but Egypt had refused all such offers.
"Gottemoeller asked him how he knew this to be true, to which Abdelaziz replied he was in Moscow at that time and had direct personal knowledge."
According to the cable, Abdelaziz also told Gottemoeller that "Iran cannot be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons."
The Egyptian ambassador also expressed concern about Israel's purported nuclear arsenal, saying that "statements from Israel's prime minister that his state possesses nuclear weapons do not contribute to security or stability."