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Muallem: US playing games Photo: AP
Muallem: US playing games Photo: AP

Syria: Scud warning 'slander campaign'

Foreign minister accuses US of using same method with Syria as it did with Iraq before war

Published: 05.01.10, 17:26 / Israel News

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Saturday accused Washington of a "slander campaign" after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Damascus over supplying Hezbollah with Scud missiles.


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"The entire world recognizes the constructive role played by Syria in preserving the security and stability of the region, and the public remembers the American slander campaign launched before the war in Iraq," Muallem said, according to state news agency SANA.


"It seems the US administration is now trying to play the same game."


His comments come amid accusations by Washington that Iran and Syria are arming Hezbollah with increasingly sophisticated rockets and missiles.


On Thursday, Clinton warned Syrian President Bashar Assad against the risk of sparking a regional war if he supplies long-range Scud missiles to the Shiite militia group.


"President Assad is making decisions that could mean war or peace for the region," she told a pro-Israel group.


Her remarks followed claims by President Shimon Peres in April that Syria was supplying Hezbollah with Scud missiles.


But Muallem dismissed the accusations and warned Washington against taking Israel's claims seriously.


"What destabilizes the region is the United Sates supplying significant quantities of sophisticated weaponry to Israel and the fact that Washington adheres to the unjust allegations made by the Israeli government against Syria."


The Scud allegations come as the United States steps up dialogue with Syria after years of tense relations, and US lawmakers have seized upon the accusations to argue against any rapprochement between Washington and Damascus.


In February, US President Barack Obama nominated career diplomat Robert Ford as the country's first ambassador to Syria in five years, but his appointment has yet to be confirmed by the US Senate.


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