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Edwards criticizes U.S. arms sales to Arab nations

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- John Edwards says the Bush administration's plan to sell $20 billion worth of weapons to friendly Arab states amounts to a foreign policy of convenience.

The former North Carolina senator says the United States should require the Saudi government to shut down the movement of terrorists across its borders. He says the Saudis also should help stabilize the Iraqi government and participate more seriously in regional security before they are offered weapons.

He made his comments in a telephone interview with The Associated Press

Edwards is the first Democratic presidential candidate to speak out against the deal. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Saudi Arabia today as part of a two-day visit with Arab allies that opened talks on the proposed US arms package.

Edwards says the arms deal could backfire by giving Iran an incentive to build its nuclear strength.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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