Syria denies report on nuclear strike
( AP ) - Syria denied on Wednesday reports that one of its representatives to the United Nations said that a nuclear facility was hit last month by Israeli warplanes, and added that "such facilities do not exist in Syria," the state-run news agency said.
The Syrian Arab News Agency, SANA, quoting a Foreign Ministry source, said that Syria had made it clear in the past that there are no such facilities in Syria.
On Tuesday, a U.N. press release sent after a meeting of the First Committee, Disarmament and International Security, in New York paraphrased an unnamed Syrian representative as saying that a nuclear facility was hit.
The U.N. release, which were minutes of the meeting, paraphrased the Syrian representative as saying that Israel was the fourth largest exporter of weapons of mass destruction and a violator of other nations' airspace. It said paraphrased the representative as saying that Israel had taken action against nuclear facilities, including one in Syria on July 6.
It was on Sept. 6, however, that Israeli warplanes carried out an airstrike in northeastern Syria near the border with Turkey. The target remains unknown but widespread reports say it may have been a nascent nuclear facility, a claim Syria has denied.
President Bashar Assad said earlier this month that the target was an "unused military building."
The Syrian news agency on Wednesday said the press release misquoted the Syrian diplomat.
"A Foreign Ministry official source denies reports by some media organizations," that the representative in New York said Israel carried a raid on a nuclear facility, SANA said.
"Such facilities do not exist in Syria and this is what Syria has already explicitly clarified," SANA said.
A full transcript of the meeting in New York was not immediately available.
Israeli radio stations, citing unidentified Israeli diplomats, earlier Wednesday had quoted the Syrians as telling the U.N. meeting that a nuclear target had been struck. However, the Israeli radio reports did not say whether the Israeli diplomats had attended the session or merely had read the U.N. press release on the meeting.
The U.N. in New York could not immediately be reached for comment on whether its press release had accurately paraphrased the Syrian official.