Syria summons U.S. ambassador to protest comments on alleged Damascus - Moscow nuclear cooperation
The Syrian foreign ministry on Sunday summoned the U.S. ambassador and handed him an official protest over a statement released by the U.S state department on a Russian – Syrian cooperation in the field of nuclear researches.
The Syrian foreign ministry has demanded an official clarification over this issue, SANA reported. “Since 1987 Syria has been calling for transforming the Middle East into an area free of all arms of mass destruction including the nuclear arm,” said the Syrian ministry statement.
Last week, the United States brought up Syria's nuclear program and said that it was very concerned. Under Secretary of State John Bolton coupled Syria and its old ally Iran as the beneficiaries of Russian technology for their nuclear and missile programs.
"We remain very concerned that the nuclear and missile programs of Iran and others, including Syria, continue to receive the benefits of Russian technology and expertise," Bolton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
State Department officials said that in the case of Syria Bolton was referring to programs of both kinds. The State Department officials referred inquiries to a CIA report dated Jan. 30, 2002, which says the Syrian nuclear program is for research and civilian purposes.
The report notes that Syria is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and is under comprehensive safeguards through the International Atomic Energy Agency.
"Broader access to Russian expertise could provide opportunities for Syria to expand its indigenous capabilities, should it decide to pursue nuclear weapons. We will continue to monitor Syria's nuclear R&D (research and development) program for any signs of weapons intent," the report added. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)