Damascus: (Agencies: 24th April) ‘The government of the Syrian Arab Republic regrets and denounces the campaign of false allegations that the current United States administration continually launches against Syria claiming the presence of nuclear activity,’ it said in a statement.
Damascus ‘utterly denies these allegations,’ it said.The White House publicly accused North Korea Thursday of helping Syria build a nuclear reactor able to produce plutonium and said the facility was ‘not intended for peaceful purposes.
‘ Syrian ambassador Imad Mustapha earlier rejected the allegations as a ‘ridiculous story,’ and pointedly compared them to US claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The weapons never materialized.
‘This administration has a proven record of fabricating stories about other countries’ WMDs. It is so extraordinary,’ he said on CNN.
In the embassy statement, Syria urged the US to ‘act responsibly and desist from creating further crises in the Middle East, which already suffers from the results and repercussions of failed American policies in the region.’
Mustapha said he had been called into the US State Department Thursday where officials showed him ‘ridiculous satellite-taken photographs of a building in the Syrian desert, saying this is a nuclear reactor.
‘He said the claims were ‘preposterous,’ adding: ‘It’s just photographs of vacant buildings.
‘A US official earlier said Washington had taken its case to the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), alleging that Damascus violated its obligations under the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
But Mustapha insisted Syria had a ‘very normal relationship’ with North Korea, and ‘everything Syria is doing, Syria is doing on an internationally legal basis.
‘US officials said an Israeli raid in September, 2007 had destroyed the nuclear reactor, and Damascus suggested Washington ‘may have helped execute’ the operation — something it denies, saying Israel made its own decision.
The Syrian statement also said it was ‘obvious’ the US accusations were a ‘maneuver’ within the six-party negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear program.
Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in a statement issued in Vienna that the agency would investigate this information with the seriousness it deserves and will investigate the veracity of the information.
He noted that Syria is obligated under its safeguards agreement with the agency to report the planning and construction of any nuclear facility.
IAEA Director General meanwhile deploredthe fact that this information was not provided to the agency in a timely manner, in accordance with the agenciy’s responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to enable it to verify its veracity and establish the facts.