Syria dismisses US accusations over nuclear reactor
Syria on Thursday dismissed U.S. accusations that North Korea was helping it build a nuclear reactor that could produce plutonium. Syria's ambassador to Britain, Sami al-Khiyami, told Reuters that the accusation was meant to put pressure on North Korea in talks about Pyongyang's nuclear program.
"This has nothing to do with North Korea and Syria. They just want to exert more pressure on North Korea. This is why they are coming up with this story," Khiyami stated. "The cooperation between North Korea and Syria has nothing to do with (building) a nuclear facility. Cooperation is mainly economic.
"This is political manipulation ahead of the talks with North Korea to exert more pressure on them," he said.
Khiyami was speaking before what a U.S. official said would be evidence regarding Syria-North Korea nuclear cooperation to be put to lawmakers in Washington on Thursday.
The presentation to U.S. lawmakers was expected to include still photographs taken from videotape recorded inside the Syrian facility, another U.S. official said. "Unfortunately the scenario of taking and retaking pictures looks like what happened before the Iraq war, when the U.S. administration was trying to convince the world that Iraq had nuclear weapons," Khiyami said.
"Instead of coming up with these ridiculous photos I think the U.S. administration should put all their effort into clearing the Middle East region of all weapons of mass destruction, starting with its closest ally Israel."