Published October 17, 2007
DAMASCUS, Syria – A high-ranking Syrian official confirmed that Israel's airstrike last month in northern Syria hit a nuclear facility, according to a document obtained Wednesday by FOX News.
"Israel was the fourth-largest exporter of weapons of mass destruction and a violator of other nations' airspace, and it had taken action against nuclear facilities, including the 6 July attack in Syria," Syrian representative Bassam Darwish is quoted in the document as saying.
Diplomats familiar with the document cannot explain why July 6 was invoked, instead of Sept. 6, the date both countries say an incident occurred. A State Department source tells FOX News the best explanation is that Darwish misspoke.
The document, released by the General Assembly's Department of Public Information, recounted Tuesday's proceedings at the annual gathering of the U.N.'s Disarmament and International Security Committee.
What is clear is that this is the first time Syria has acknowledged its nuclear efforts.
One U.S. delegate told colleagues he could not believe his ears when the Syrian diplomat made his statement and that the resulting document was close to verbatim, and another source told FOX News the document reinforces what people heard [the Syrian representative] say in the actual debate.
Syria already has disowned the remarks, adding "such facilities do not exist in Syria."
The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency, SANA, quoting an unnamed Foreign Ministry source, said the U.N. press release misquoted the diplomat and that Syria had made it clear that there are no such facilities in Syria.
Syrian President Bashar Assad said earlier this month that the target is an "unused military building."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.