Speaker of Syrian Assembly denies "secret nuclear program"

Other News Materials 26 November 2008 02:24 (UTC +04:00)

The speaker of the Syrian People Assembly, Mahmoud al-Abrash, said on Tuesday that allegations of secret military nuclear programme by his country were fabricated, dpa reported.

"There are attempts to accuse Syria of having a military nuclear programme despite all the assurances and the reality on the ground that prove that Syria has no nuclear programme," al-Abrash told repoters in Manama at the end of an official two-day visit to Bahrain.

"We don't have a nuclear program but we have a plan that aims to rid the region of mass destruction weapons and we are honestly pointing out the fact that Israel is the country with the largest arsenal of mass destruction weapons in the region."

He also said that a movement toward direct negotiations between Damascus and Tel Aviv instead of the present indirect ones through Turkey cannot be achieved before the Syrian demand of assurances that the occupied Golan Heights be part of a settlement to return them to Syrian control.

Al-Abrash, who accused Israel of being the biggest threat to peace in the region, added that it was in his country's interest to see stability in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and the rest of the region pointing out that instability in neighbouring countries would affect Damascus.

"We have good relations with the Iraqi government and Syria is home to 1.5 million Iraqi refugees who are treated as if they were Syrians," he said.

Al-Abrash added that despite the recent "aggression" by US aircraft from Iraq the two governments continue to work closely to combat terrorism.

"Distinctions between Syrian rejection of US occupation of Iraq and Syrian support for stability in Iraq must be clear. We continue to push to ensure that Iraq remains stable and unified," he said.

He also said that the Syrians and Iraqis were cooperating fully to ensure the safety of their border.

Al-Abrash also denied the presence of any political tension between Damascus onn one side and Riyadh and Beirut on the other side.