US wants UN to search in Syria for nuclear facilities

Thursday, May 29, 2008 |  staff writer  

Despite negotiations with Israel that could potentially make Syria an ally, American officials are pressing the United Nations to search the Arab nation for secret nuclear facilities, according to a report in The Washington Post.

The newspaper reported that at least three sites have been identified by US officials and passed along to the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. The US did not identify nor discuss the specific sites.

Israel destroyed the Al Kibar reactor in September, a facility Syria claimed was a disused military building in its eastern desert with no nuclear link. It has yet to accept a request from the IAEA to visit the site.

CIA Director Michael Hayden told the newspaper that the intelligence community's insight into Syria's nuclear ambitions has deepened since the Israeli raid.

"Do not assume that Al Kibar exhausted our knowledge of Syrian efforts with regard to nuclear weapons," Hayden said in an interview. "I am very comfortable -- certainly with Al Kibar and what was there, and what the intent was."

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