A White House statement reports that the North Korean-built and Israeli-destroyed reactor in Syria was "not intended for peaceful purposes."
In a statement issued on Thursday by White House press secretary Dana Perino, the US Administration sharply criticizes Syria. The statement refers to Syria's "covert nuclear reactor" which was "damaged beyond repair on Sept. 6 of last year" - but does not mention that it was Israel that destroyed it.
The statement censures Syria for supporting terrorism, destabilizing Lebanon, allowing foreign fighters into Iraq, and repressing its own people.
The White House issued the statement after CIA officials briefed select Congressional committees on what the White House called "an issue of great international concern." The statement continues, "Until Sept. 6, 2007, the Syrian regime was building a covert nuclear reactor in its eastern desert capable of producing plutonium. We are convinced, based on a variety of information, that North Korea assisted Syria's covert nuclear activities."
The Bush Administration believes that the reactor was not intended for peaceful activities, because of the following: "Carefully hidden from view, the reactor was not configured for such purposes. In defiance of its international obligations, Syria did not inform the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the construction of the reactor, and, after it was destroyed, the regime moved quickly to bury evidence of its existence."
Syria Must Stop Support for Terrorism, Etc.
"The Syrian regime must come clean before the world regarding its illicit nuclear activities," the White House states. "The Syrian regime supports terrorism, takes action that destabilizes Lebanon, allows the transit of some foreign fighters into Iraq, and represses its own people. If Syria wants better relations with the international community, it should put an end to these activities."
Olmert Willing to Give Golan
The statement was issued a day after a Syrian government minister confirmed that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had agreed to hand over the entire Golan Heights to Syria in exchange for a peace agreement.
"The construction of this reactor," the White House concludes, "was a dangerous and potentially destabilizing development for the region and the world. This is particularly true because it was done covertly and in violation of the very procedures designed to reassure the world of the peaceful intent of nuclear activities. This development also serves as a reminder that often the same regimes that sponsor proliferation also sponsor terrorism and foster instability, and cooperate with one another in doing so."