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Britain Cannot Confirm Syrian Chemical Weapon Possession - 2003-04-14

Britain says it cannot confirm that Syria possesses chemical weapons. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw commented on the issue a day after U.S. President George W. Bush said he believes there are chemical weapons in Syria.

Mr. Straw has told British radio there should be a dialogue with Syria over U.S. allegations that is has illegal weapons and is harboring former Iraqi officials.

"What is important is for Syria fully to cooperate over these questions that have been raised about the fact that some fugitives from Iraq may well have fled into Syria and other matters, including whether they have, in fact, been developing any kind of illegal chemical or biological program," he said.

The foreign secretary was asked if he could confirm President Bush's statement that Syria is believed to have chemical weapons. "No, I am not sure, is the answer, and that is why we need to talk to them about it," he said.

Syria denies it is hiding illegal weapons or harboring former Iraqi officials.