Syria, Israel in harsh exchange at UN nuclear meet

September 21, 2011 17:10

VIENNA - Syria accused Israel on Wednesday of posing a threat to the world with its "huge military nuclear arsenal", a day after the Jewish state criticized Damascus for stonewalling a UN watchdog investigation into its atomic activities.

The exchange between the two adversaries, at an annual member state meeting of the UN nuclear agency, underlined deep divisions between Arab states and Israel ahead of rare talks later this year on efforts to rid the world of atomic bombs.

Israel is widely believed to hold the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, drawing frequent Arab and Iranian condemnation.

Israel and the United States see Iran -- and to a lesser extent Syria -- as the Middle East's main proliferation threats, accusing Tehran of seeking to develop a nuclear arms capability in secret.

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