Syrian FM shocked at reports on uranium traces found in its lands 2008-11-13 00:43:56   Print

    DAMASCUS, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said Wednesday he was shocked at reports on uranium traces found in an alleged nuclear site in Syria bombed by Israeli warplanes in Sept. 2007.

    Muallem told a joint press conference with his visiting Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari, referring to leaks by some diplomats to the western media on Monday that uranium traces were found in some samples taken by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from the bombed site.

    Muallem said the leaks made by some diplomats to the media came ahead of IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei's report on Syria to the UN nuclear watchdog later this month, adding that such media leaks were politically motivated and aimed at pressuring Syria.

    "It means the subject is not technical but political," said Muallem in Syria's first reaction to the reports.

    Muallem said the United States submitted its allegation to the IAEA seven months after the Israeli raid, noting that the United States has contended that the alleged Syrian nuclear reactor was under construction, not operational.

    "So the question is, from where the uranium traces came?" asked the top Syrian diplomat.

    He continued that nobody had asked what kind of Israeli bombs had struck the site and what did they contain, suggesting that the uranium traces may be left by Israeli bombs.

    The United States and Israel had used bombs containing depleted uranium in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, added Muallem, saying that Syria was waiting for ElBaradei's report to respond.

    An IAEA high ranking official confirmed to Xinhua in Vienna on Monday that the IAEA council meeting to be held at the end of November with Syrian nuclear issue on its agenda.

    This will be the first time for IAEA to include Syrian nuclear activities as topics for discussion.

    In Sept. 2007, Israel sent fighters to blow down an establishment at Syrian Al-Kibar, claiming it to be Syria's base of secret nuclear weapon development.

    The United States provided IAEA intelligence this May, confirming Israel's accusation. This establishment would be for developing nuclear explosive material plutonium and put into operation shortly, according to the U.S. intelligence.

    However, Syria keeps denying any plan for nuclear weapons, on which IAEA has carried out investigations.

Editor: Sun
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