U.S. Senate to discuss N. Korea-Syria nuclear ties
Media reports after panel session could alter gag order Israel has imposed on coverage of IAF Syria strike.
The American administration intends to give the Senate Intelligence Committee an account of the nuclear ties between North Korea and Syria for the first time on April 22.
Senior IDF officers have warned, however, that the release of any information containing details of the Israeli Air Force strike in Syria last September could increase tension between Israel and Syria.
The meeting is expected to be held behind closed doors at Israel's insistence, but the Americans did not promise not to brief journalists afterward.
Media reports in the United States could alter the gag order Israel has imposed on Israeli media coverage of the IAF's strike in Syria.
Washington sources on Monday told Haaretz that the administration and North Korea are making headway in their talks about what to call Pyongyang's supply of nuclear technology to Syria. North Korea is expected to give the Americans a statement that indirectly acknowledges its violation of the agreement to dismantle its nuclear power by maintaining nuclear ties with Syria.
However, North Korea will not publicly admit to any guilt in this matter and the Americans are expected to accept this. This arrangement would enable both sides to return to the agreement to dismantle the North Korean nuclear program. In this case, the administration will be interested in downplaying North Korea's ties with Syria and American officials may make do with a general survey on this issue to the Senate.
The Intelligence Committee has scheduled two hearings, on April 22 and 24. The first session is expected to be about the North Korean-Syrian issue.
Sources in Israel on Monday reiterated their position that any release, however partial, about North Korea's ties with Syria, which would include details about the installation the IAF attacked, could complicate the already tense situation between Israel and Syria.
These sources said that despite the administration's duty to report to Congress, they hoped it would be done in a most limited way so as to avoid increasing tension in the Middle East.
The affair is causing tension between Israel's prime minister and defense minister. The defense minister's aides suspect that the Prime Minister's Bureau has been covertly encouraging the Americans to release information about the attack, hoping to make political gains. The prime minister's aides deny these allegations.
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