Syrian FM dismisses IAEA report

February 20, 2010 20:22


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Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem on Saturday dismissed an International Atomic Energy Agency report released earlier this week in which the IAEA said that uranium particles found at a Syrian desert facility bombed three years ago by Israel suggest possible covert nuclear activity at the site.

Al-Moallem also reiterated Damascus' refusal to allow inspectors unfettered access to check out possible covert sites.

"We are committed to the nonproliferation agreement, and we let inspectors in within this agreement," al-Moallem told reporters. "But regarding other requests that don't fall with this agreement, we will not go beyond it."

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the US remained concerned about Syria's nuclear activity but stood by a decision to nominate a career diplomat to become the first US ambassador to Damascus since 2005.

"We are going to have an ambassador there who will engage Syria on the full range of issues, those areas where we think there's opportunity for cooperation and those areas where we have concerns about Syria's ongoing activity," he told reporters Friday in Washington.

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