Syria's UN Ambassador on Wednesday dismissed reports that Israeli planes targeted weapons
destined for Hizbullah last week as "nonsense" and said the UN Security Council should react to the "aggressive violation" of Syrian sovereignty.
Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari was asked about a report which quoted an unidentified US official as saying the target in the strike last Thursday was a site where Israel believed Syria was storing weapons from Iran heading for the Lebanese militant group. Israel has remained silent on the incident.
"This is, as we say in French, blah blah," Ja'afari told reporters. "This is nonsense. This is unfounded statement. It is not true because they have already violated the airspace of a country, a member state of the United Nations."
"It's not up to the Israelis or anybody else to assess what we have in Syria and what we don't have," he said.
Ja'afari said it was also "totally wrong" because the Israelis could not find any target in Syria. That is
because they were "running away" after coming under fire from Syrian air defenses and dropped their ammunition and extra fuel tanks to lighten the load, he said.
The Syrian ambassador sent identical letters to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the president of the
Security Council accusing Israel of "flagrant defiance of international law," the UN charter and council
While Syria has repeatedly affirmed its desire for "a just and comprehensive peace in the region," Ja'afari
accused Israel of "choosing aggression and escalation instead of espousing the option of peace" and committing "war crimes."
"In warning the Israeli government of the consequences of such blatant aggression, Syria emphasizes that if the international community persists in disregarding these Israeli actions in breach of international law, that is likely to subject the region and international peace and security to serious consequences that may be difficult to control," he said in the letter, circulated Wednesday.
Ja'afari told reporters Wednesday that Israel carried out the "provocative act ... in the middle of the huge
momentum with regard to the peace process in the Middle East."
"We think the Israeli purpose behind doing such an aggressive act is to torpedo the peace process, to torpedo the idea of holding an international conference with the idea of having a comprehensive peace," he said. "So the issue in itself might not be a pure military one, but having a very important diplomatic and political background."
The letters did not ask the Security Council to take any action, but Ja'afari said Syria expects both the council and the secretary-general to react.
"What's happened is a violation of the Charter, a violation of the sovereignty of a member state of United
Nations, and bout the secretary-general and Security Council should assume their responsibilities by reaction to such an aggressive act," he said. "They should react because this is their duties, this is their job. It's not up to me to dictate to them what to say."
When Israeli aircraft attacked a Syrian village in October 2003, Ja'afari recalled that the secretary-general
denounced the attack and the Security Council condemned it. "We are waiting for serious outcomes, equal, at least, to the gravity of what happened," he said.
France's UN Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert said the letter was circulated to all 15 members but it was not discussed at a meeting on Wednesday. Diplomats said this was because the Syrians did not ask for any action. US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said he had nothing to say on whether the Israeli strike was an act of aggression or a violation of the UN Charter.