Syria denies admission of nuke program

Syrian news agency: Diplomat who said Israel hit nuclear facility was misquoted in press release.

October 17, 2007 12:42
1 minute read.
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jets 224.88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Syria denied on Wednesday reports that its representatives to the United Nations said that a nuclear facility was hit last month by Israeli warplanes, and added that "such facilities do not exist in Syria," state-run news agency said. The Syrian Arab News Agency, SANA, quoting a foreign ministry source, said that Syria had made it clear in the past that there are no such facilities in Syria. On Tuesday, a UN press release sent after a meeting of the First Committee, Disarmament and International Security, in New York quoted Syria's UN ambassador, Bashar al-Jaafari, as saying that a nuclear facility was hit. "Moreover, Israel was the fourth largest exporter of weapons of mass destruction and a violator of other nations' airspace, and it had taken action against nuclear facilities, including the 6 July attack in Syria," the release quoted al-Jaafari as saying. The date given by the release was wrong since the raid occurred two months later. On Sept. 6, Israeli warplanes carried out an air strike in northeastern Syria near the border with Turkey. The target remains unknown but widespread reports say it may have been a nascent nuclear facility, a claim Syria has denied. Syrian President Bashar Assad said earlier this month that the target was an "unused military building." The Syrian news agency on Wednesday said the press release misquoted the Syrian diplomat. "A Foreign Ministry official source denies reports by some media organizations that the Syrian ambassador in New York, Bashar al-Jaafari, said Israel carried a raid on a nuclear facility," SANA said. "Such facilities do not exist in Syria and this is what Syria has already explicitly clarified," SANA said. A transcript of the meeting in New York was not immediately available. Israeli radio stations, citing unidentified Israeli diplomats, earlier Wednesday had quoted the Syrians as telling the UN meeting that a nuclear target had been struck. However, the Israeli radio reports did not say whether the Israeli diplomats had attended the session or merely had read the UN press release on the meeting. The UN in New York could not immediately be reached for comment on whether its press release had accurately quoted the Syrian official.

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