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Syria’s foreign minister rued his country’s lack of a military nuclear program.

Walid Mouallem said he would like to offset Israel’s capabilities.

“As a private citizen, I wish Syria had this program quite simply because Israel has made huge advances in its manufacturing of nuclear bombs,” Mouallem told reporters Monday.

Last September, Israel bombed an installation in the Syrian desert that the CIA described as a secret nuclear reactor. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not discuss the raid but later said Syria does not pose a nuclear threat to Israel.

Syria denied having a reactor but spent months fending off United Nations inspectors before finally admitting them last week.

“Syria would not have allowed the inspectors in if it had such a secret program,” Mouallem said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency team described its visit to Syria as productive but inconclusive.

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