Bashar Ja'afari, the Syrian Ambassador, told the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament that all Arab states were committed to creating a zone in the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.

 

"However, Israel, which has unambiguous support from major nuclear weapon states, continues to reject the will of the international community and dumps its nuclear waste in the Syrian Golan Heights," said Ja'afari, the first speaker in Tuesday's session.

 

Itzhak Levanon, the Israeli ambassador, retorted in Arabic that Ja'afari's speech was full of "repetitive, inaccurate information," but did not take up the question of nuclear waste dumping in the Golan Heights.

 

"This issue was raised by the Syrians during the Commission on Human Rights and I refuted it completely, and I am refuting it now"

Itzhak Levanon, the Israeli ambassador

Later, Levanon told The Associated Press: "This issue was raised by the Syrians during the Commission on Human Rights and I refuted it completely, and I am refuting it now."

 

He said Syrians were trying to use the Geneva-based disarmament body, the world's main forum for global arms control treaties, to promote misinformation over political issues that do not deal with arms control.

 

Israel has controlled the Golan Heights since the 1967 Middle East War.

 

Ja'afari, in response to Levanon, said: "It was the arsenal of international resolutions" condemning Israel for its position on weapons of mass destruction, not Syria, laying the blame.

 

Israel, he noted, was the only Middle East country not to have signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, the 1968 global convention to control the spread of nuclear weapons.