Syria: Claims about reactor manufactured

Ambassador says US nuke reactor allegations used "to create further crisis in the Middle East."

Syrian reactor 224 (photo credit: Courtesy ISIS)
Syrian reactor 224
(photo credit: Courtesy ISIS)
Syria said Friday that US allegations about a weapons-capable nuclear reactor were part of a policy of "madness." US allegations about the reactor were "manufactured in order to create further crisis in the Middle East," Syrian Ambassador Faysal al-Hamoui told conference on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Earlier Friday the United States submitted a paper to the conference saying the treaty's biggest problem was noncompliance by countries like Syria and Iran which it said were seeking to develop nuclear weapons. The United States also cited North Korea's nuclear weapons program and said reports its nuclear cooperation with other countries warranted serious vigilance. "North Korea's clandestine nuclear cooperation with Syria ... is a dangerous manifestation," the US paper said. "North Korea assisted Syria's covert work in building a nuclear reactor capable of producing plutonium and not intended for peaceful purposes," it said. The US paper made no mention of allegations that the reactor was destroyed in an Israeli bombing raid in September. Al-Hamoui said the allegations by the administration of US President George W. Bush were part of a "disinformation campaign." "We call upon member states to exercise caution and not to follow as other people have followed the vein of an administration which can only be described as madness," he told the meeting of the 190 countries signed on to the treaty. Al-Hamoui said Australia and France "lack credibility" for referring to the US allegations and for failing to mention Israel's own nuclear arsenal. He said French Ambassador Jean-Francois Dobelle had twice referred to the US allegations. "France played a major and pivotal role in building the Israeli nuclear program and continues to supply Israel with nuclear technology, which is a clear infringement of the NPT," al-Hamoui said. "We call on Syria to come clean about its past and current nuclear activities," said Dobelle, who also urged the International Atomic Energy Agency to launch a thorough investigation of the Syrian program. Australian Ambassador Caroline Millar told the conference that the US information about Syria "is very disturbing." "Syria has an obligation under its safeguards agreement with the IAEA to report the planning and construction of any nuclear facilities," she said.