Syria suggested Thursday that nuclear material might have been planted on its territory by Israel - offering a new explanation for uranium traces found by the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to participants at an IAEA meeting.
Syria had claimed that a site bombed by Israel in 2007 was not a secret nuclear reactor and that the uranium traces found by IAEA inspectors stemmed from Israeli ammunition, DPA reported.
Addressing the IAEA Board of Governors, Syrian Ambassador Bassam Sabbagh spoke of "Israeli airplanes that have overflown that site and dropped things, and material," according to one of the participants recounting the remarks to the German Press Agency dpa.
"It's a slightly desperate charge, isn't it?" US Ambassador Glyn Davies told reporters after the meeting.
The IAEA has analysed samples taken at the bombed al-Kibar site in the Syrian desert, also known as Dair Alzour.
It judged in its latest report in February that "there is a low probability that the source of these particles was the use of missiles" and that the presence of the material pointed to possible nuclear activities.
Syria is currently not granting the IAEA access to locations, officials and documents that may shed more light on possible clandestine nuclear activities.
At the IAEA board, the US and the EU urged the government in Damascus to cooperate with the nuclear agency.
The more the IAEA uncovers, "the more Syria has tried to actively hinder the agency's investigation," US envoy Davies said.
The board did not take any formal action, such as issuing a resolution condemning Syria, as diplomats said that the IAEA was still in the process of seeking further inspections.
Nuclear inspectors had asked to visit Syria on February 23, but were denied due to scheduling problems.