Uranium at Syria site come from Israeli missiles: FM
DAMASCUS, Nov 18 (AFP) Nov 18, 2008
Traces of uranium on a site in northern Syria were residue from Israeli missiles used to bomb the area in September 2007, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on Tuesday.
"The traces of uranium found on the site come from Israeli missiles launched during the destruction of the building. It is the only plausible explanation," Muallem said.
The facility destroyed by Israel "was a military building that had no nuclear vocation," Muallem said at a joint news conference with visiting British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
Last week media reports said that UN nuclear experts who visited the site in September had found atomic material.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei said on Monday that "there was uranium" at the site but that this did not prove there was a reactor.
"There was uranium but that doesn't mean there was a reactor ... It's not highly enriched uranium," said ElBaradei, whose inspectors visited the bombed Al-Kibar site last June, taking samples.
Washington claims that Al-Kibar, which was razed to the ground by Israeli planes, was a nuclear facility built with North Korean help and close to becoming operational.
"We are having a report by the end of this week with regards to Syria... It's still not conclusive," ElBaradei told reporters at an economic conference in Dubai. "We are taking the issue very seriously."
"We need more cooperation from Syria... We need also cooperation from Israel."
Muallem also insisted it was soon to pre-empt the IAEA report.
"Syria has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and will wait for Mr ElBaradei's report," Muallem said.
Miliband said he discussed the issue with the Syrian authorities but that Britain will issue no comments before the IAEA report is published officially.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.