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The suspected North Korean ship, which docked in Syria three days prior to a reported IAF strike. (Archives)
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Last update - 19:11 21/09/2007
Report: Syria, North Korea hold high-level talks in Pyongyang
By Haaretz Service and News Agencies

North Korea and Syria held high-level talks Friday in Pyongyang, the North's state media reported, amid suspicions that the two countries might be cooperating on a nuclear weapons program.

The talks took place between Choe Tae Bok, secretary of the Central Committee of the North's ruling Workers' Party, and Saaeed Eleia Dawood, director of the organizational department of Syria's Baath Arab Socialist Party, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.

The two sides discussed ways of improving friendship and cooperation and other issues of bilateral interest, KCNA said, without elaborating.
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U.S. government sources have said that Israel shared intelligence information with the Bush Administration this summer indicating that North Korean nuclear personnel were in Syria, the Washington Post reported Friday.

According to the report, the sources said the White House was deeply concerned by the possibility that North Korea was assisting the nuclear ambitions of a country closely linked with Iran.

The newspaper reported that the sources said, however, that Bush opted against an immediate response due to fears it would undermine negotiations with Pyongyang aimed at securing the dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear program.

The sources reportedly said the United States is believed to have provided Israel with some corroboration of the original intelligence, prior to an alleged Israel Air Force strike on Syria earlier this month.

According to reports in the American and British media, the target of the alleged strike was a nuclear facility built with North Korea's assistance.

Syria has said IAF planes violated its airspace and fired missiles at targets on the ground, but both Damascus and Pyongyang have vehemently denied the reports of nuclear cooperation.

According to the Washington Post, the U.S. sources said the IAF strike was carried out in the middle of the night in order to minimize potential casualties.

The report stated that the quality of the intelligence, which included satellite imagery, is uncertain, as is the extent of North Korean assistance and the seriousness of the Syrian effort.

The Washington Post said this uncertainty raises the possibility that North Korea was merely unloading items it no longer needed, adding that Syria has actively pursued chemical weapons in the past but not nuclear arms. The newspaper said that some proliferation experts are thus "skeptical of the intelligence that prompted Israel's attack."

The newspaper also quoted Bruce Riedel, a former intelligence officer at Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy, as saying "There is no question it was a major raid."

"It was an extremely important target," the report quoted Riedel as saying. "It came at a time the Israelis were very concerned about war with Syria and wanted to dampen down the prospects of war. The decision was taken despite their concerns it could produce a war. That decision reflects how important this target was to Israeli military planners."

Israel has long known about Syria's interest in chemical and even biological weapons, but "if Syria decided to go beyond that, Israel would think that was a real red line," Riedel told the Washington Post.

The Washington Post, which had previously reported that the alleged air strike occurred three days after a North Korean ship docked at the Syrian port of Tartous, said Friday that the "ship's role remains obscure."

"Israeli sources have suggested it carried nuclear equipment," the paper wrote. "Others have maintained that it contained only missile parts, and some have said the ship's arrival and the attack are merely coincidental. One source suggested that Israel's attack was prompted by a fear of media leaks on the intelligence."

Ronen Solomon, who searches information in the public domain for companies, told Haaretz recently that Online databases tracking the ship had altered their records following a report in The Washington Post linking it to the reported air strike.

U.S. President George W. Bush refused to comment Thursday on reports of an IAF strike in Syria, but said he expects North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program and not allow other countries to gain its know-how on producing such technology and weapons. (For more, click here to watch Haaretz.com TV)

"We expect them to honor their commitment to give up weapons and weapons programs," Bush said during a news conference. "To the extent that they are proliferating, we expect them to stop their proliferation.
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  1.   From the creators of the Iraq WMD "Slam Dunk" 10:09  |  Natallie Durson 21/09/07
  2.   "Report:" is always a sign of best quality 10:18  |  christoph 21/09/07
  3.   Natallie Durson 11:24  |  Dattalie Nurson 21/09/07
  4.   General Durson, their inteligence is better than your 11:27  |  Maven 21/09/07
  5.   DOES IT SURPRISE ANYONE? 11:30  |  indrajaya 21/09/07
  6.   ...Where are these weapons ? 11:44  |  Konich 21/09/07
  7.   Of course - blame the West! 12:01  |  Chaim 21/09/07
  8.   Syria and worse 12:09  |  christoph 21/09/07
  9.   Syrian attack on Yom Kippur? 12:30  |  Jonathan S 21/09/07
  10.   What happened in the airs? 12:31  |  Jonathan S 21/09/07
  11.   US had failed miserably and needed Israel to save the situation 12:32  |  Absolute Sweden 21/09/07
  12.   Kosher for Israel... not kosher for Syria 12:32  |  ME Observer 21/09/07
  13.   And I have swamp land in Florida to sell you 12:33  |  Tim 21/09/07
  14.   Who cares? 12:36  |  Jeffrey 21/09/07
  15.   NORTH KOREA REALIZING THAT TO GET 12:39  |  Robert 21/09/07
  16.   What do you think they`re talking about? NK`s Cement exports? 12:47  |  B`Galil 21/09/07
  17.   #7 Chaim - 2004 tsunami was caused by gays.... 12:58  |  CK Tan 21/09/07
  18.   NK and Syria having top level meetings? 13:01  |  Lynn 21/09/07
  19.   Natalie Durson 13:03  |  Avi (from Poland) 21/09/07
  20.   Syria and Israel 13:11  |  jason 21/09/07
  21.   To those on Syria`s side: 13:19  |  Stan 21/09/07
  22.   Phoney Intelligence is the Flavor of the Month 13:22  |  Natallie Durson 21/09/07
  23.   Grammatical error 13:24  |  W 21/09/07
  24.   US, PA hold high level talks in Ramallah 13:25  |  Michael 21/09/07
  25.   The Truth???? 13:28  |  Buzaglow 21/09/07
  26.   If North Korea is giving Syria warheads 13:30  |  Chris Linthwaite 21/09/07
  27.   Critic Supports Recent Isrtaeli Action 13:50  |  Brian Freund 21/09/07
  28.   To Indrajaya 13:53  |  Robert 21/09/07
  29.   Are Israeli citizens protected? 14:22  |  Mike 21/09/07
  30.   "I love the smell of Napalm in the morning"!!! 14:49  |  David 21/09/07
  31.   # 5 Indrajaya Is Still In Love With Atheists 14:49  |  Tony Anthony 21/09/07
  32.   Syria & Israel 14:56  |  Sam 21/09/07
  33.   # 17 CK TAN of Singapore 15:19  |  Lynn 21/09/07
  34.   israel`s specialty 15:21  |  edgar 21/09/07
  35.   Chris L 15:26  |  ODP 21/09/07
  36.   # 19 Avi from Poland 15:27  |  Lynn 21/09/07
  37.   Old saying-Tell me who are your friends 15:43  |  Abu Yusuf 21/09/07
  38.   Indrajayayayaya 15:47  |  yo` mama 21/09/07
  39.   To Mike in belgium 16:06  |  Stan 21/09/07
  40.   # 1 Nothing wrong with that, Fatmah.... 17:25  |  Misha 21/09/07
  41.   #5 indrajaya 17:30  |  Axel 21/09/07
  42.   WMD - Konich #6 17:33  |  Russell 21/09/07
  43.   # 22 Nothing wrong with that as well, Fatmah... 17:34  |  Misha 21/09/07
  44.   Transcript of the N. Korean - Syrian Talks 17:46  |  Chick 21/09/07
  45.   Mike Civil Defense 18:01  |  Mark T 21/09/07
  46.   intelligence and natalie durson 18:01  |  citizen zero 21/09/07
  47.   Sam inMaine 18:04  |  MArk T 21/09/07
  48.   Lynn 19:34  |  Avi (from Poland) 21/09/07
  49.   Not responsible 19:50  |  Paul 21/09/07
  50.   syria-iran 19:51  |  khairi janbek 21/09/07
  51.   Criticizing Israel is NOT a sign of anti-Semitism 20:00  |  Clarence Darrow 21/09/07
  52.   47- Mark 20:10  |  Sam 21/09/07
  53.   Konich; in Syria and Russia 20:10  |  Free the World 21/09/07
  54.   Cont`d: Criticizing Israel is NOT a sign of anti-Semitism 20:13  |  Clarence Darrow 21/09/07
  55.   #12 if us and Israel have why Iran can`t have it 20:49  |  Abu yusuf 21/09/07
  56.   #12 Kosher for Israel... not kosher for Syria 20:54  |  Murray of Montreal 21/09/07
  57.   Syrian policy 21:03  |  Sayed halil 21/09/07
  58.   Nattalie Doesn`t Like Intelligence 21:13  |  Tom 21/09/07
  59.   cement and the facts slings and palletts 22:32  |  victor hardman 21/09/07
  60.   syrian perfidy 22:33  |  wildman 21/09/07
  61.   US+Israel etc. 23:15  |  Paul 21/09/07
  62.   No ssouls attack kippur 23:19  |  Paul 21/09/07
  63.   Bulletin: North Korea to send its fleet to aid Syria 23:21  |  Seinfeld 21/09/07
  64.   Natallie Durson 00:17  |  Bill 22/09/07
  65.   Is something about to hit a fan? 00:25  |  Bill 22/09/07
  66.   Indrajaya (5) obviously your newspapers are 00:31  |  Karl 22/09/07
  67.   Israel and American `shared` intelligence. 00:35  |  Maureen Ann 22/09/07
  68.   All leads lead to Washington 00:49  |  Mark Lincoln 22/09/07
  69.   Maureen Ann; Neither are intelligent? 01:30  |  Murr 22/09/07
  70.   #67 maureen Ann; Neither are intelligent when it comes to peace 01:36  |  Murray of Montreal 22/09/07
  71.   Dont let facts get in the way of a good story! 02:23  |  Wally 22/09/07
  72.   To Mark Lincoln # 68 02:27  |  Wally 22/09/07
  73.   Congressional Oversight 02:33  |  Pablo B 22/09/07
  74.   Syria won`t attack without Egypt coming along. 02:49  |  Paul 22/09/07
  75.   You said it 02:52  |  Paul 22/09/07
  76.   Indifferent 03:00  |  Paul 22/09/07
  77.   You missed the mark 03:02  |  Paul 22/09/07
  78.   Clarence Darrow - go home 03:25  |  Mark Lincoln 22/09/07
  79.   Mark Lincoln Wake up 04:08  |  Danite 22/09/07
  80.   Sam 52 05:01  |  Mark t 22/09/07
  81.   Losers of the world, unite!! 05:05  |  Voice of Reason 22/09/07
  82.   Murray 70 05:11  |  Mark T 22/09/07
  83.   paul 74 05:14  |  Mark T 22/09/07
  84.   Support a massive Jewish emigration to Alaska 05:58  |  Peter North 22/09/07
  85.   If you put them in Alaska, they my claim Canada 07:39  |  Calvin 22/09/07
  86.   #67maureen ann and the neville chamberlain syndrome 08:14  |  victor hardman 22/09/07
  87.   #78, Mark Lincoln 10:10  |  Cipora Julianna Kohn 22/09/07
  88.   Mark In Maine 10:59  |  Sam 22/09/07
  89.   Kim Jong Even With His Tallest Platform Shoes ... 11:44  |  Lavi 22/09/07
  90.   Sam 14:13  |  Mark T 22/09/07
  91.   Sam #2 14:19  |  Mark T 22/09/07
  92.   29 MIKE AN ANSWER IF YOU`RE STILL LOOKING 14:48  |  JON FEIGENBAUM 22/09/07
  93.   #88 Cipora Julianna Kohn 15:06  |  JON FEIGENBAUM 22/09/07
  94.   Birds of a feather flock together 15:23  |  Maurice 22/09/07
  95.   #5 - FAKE INDRAJAYA ALERT 15:25  |  indrajaya 22/09/07
  96.   Cipora - yes, Palestinians are people too 19:44  |  Mark Lincoln 22/09/07
  97.   #93, Jon Feigenbaum 19:51  |  Cipora Julianna Kohn 22/09/07
  98.   #96, Mark Lincoln 20:30  |  Cipora Julianna Kohn 22/09/07
  99.   Cipora Shalom 22:05  |  Danite 22/09/07
  100.   LAVI 89 03:47  |  JON FEIGENBAUM 23/09/07
  101.   Will Syria ever do anything directly or mercenaries as usual 04:30  |  PETER S.M. 23/09/07
  102.   Iran , syria 11:27  |  ari 23/09/07
  103.   Where are these weapons ? mr Konich... 23:32  |  alberto 23/09/07
  104.   Nuclear material brought to US by Israeli Commandos 02:12  |  Bobby Person 24/09/07
  105.   Natallie Durson 22:51  |  Dave 20/10/07
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