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Monday, July 18, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

China not interested in secret Syrian nuke site destroyed by Israel: It 'does not exist'

WASHINGTON — The United Nations Security Council has received evidence from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of a secret Syrian nuclear program.


Western diplomats said Syria was being protected at the Security Council by such allies as China and Russia. Both Beijing and Moscow have dismissed the IAEA evidence and said the alleged Syrian secret nuclear program was halted.

"We should not talk about something that does not exist," China's envoy to the UN, Wang Min, said. "There are a lot of things that happened in the past. Should we discuss all of them?"

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On July 14, the council heard testimony from IAEA safeguards chief Neville Whiting that the regime of President Bashar Assad operated a secret nuclear reactor until its destruction in a 2007 air strike attributed to Israel.

"This was a devastating briefing," British envoy to the UN, Mark Grant, said. Grant said the evidence brought to the Security Council determined that Syria was operating a clandestine nuclear facility in Dir Al Zour near the border with Iraq. Grant said the issue would probably be shelved until September.

In June, IAEA determined that Syria failed to cooperate with an investigation into the nuclear facility in Dir Al Zour. At that point, the agency relayed the case to the council for possible sanctions.

IAEA was also scheduled to submit a report on Syria for its board of governors in September. The diplomats acknowledged that China and Russia, even with the forthcoming report, were unlikely to approve sanctions on Syria.

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