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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2002 > October
Taken Questions
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 11, 2002
Taken Question from October 11, 2002 Daily Press Briefing

Syria - Weapons of Mass Destruction (Taken Question)

Question: Cite expressions of U.S. concern about Syria’s weapons of mass destruction programs earlier than Under Secretary Bolton’s recent testimony.

Answer: It is a matter of public record that the U.S. government is concerned about Syria’s weapons of mass destruction and missile programs. The Central Intelligence Agency biannual Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technologies Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions has consistently outlined U.S. concerns with respect to Syrian pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and missiles.

In the January 1 – June 30, 200l report, it is stated that "Syria sought chemical weapon related precursors and expertise from foreign sources, maintains a stockpile of the nerve agent sarin and appears to be trying to develop more toxic and persistent nerve agents. It is highly probable that Syria is developing an offensive biological weapons capability."

The report also indicates that in January 2000, "Russia approved a draft cooperative agreement with Syria that included cooperation on civil nuclear power. Broader access to Russian expertise could provide opportunities for Syria to expand its indigenous capabilities, should it decide to pursue nuclear weapons. The U.S. will continue to monitor Syria’s nuclear research and development for any signs of weapons intent."

The report further states that during the first half of 2001, "Syria continued work on establishing solid-propellant rocket motor development and production capability with help from outside countries. Syria also continued its efforts to assemble – probably with considerable North Korean assistance – liquid-fueled Scud C missiles."

I would refer you to this report for a more detailed outline of U.S. concerns with respect to Syria’s weapons of mass destruction and missile programs.


Released on October 15, 2002

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