Countries call on Syria to cooperate on nuclear inspection

June 5th, 2008 - 9:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Vienna, June 5 (DPA) A majority of countries on the UN nuclear watchdog’s board of governors called on Syria Thursday to cooperate with international nuclear inspectors trying to find out whether it was building an undeclared nuclear reactor. A team of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is to visit Syria from June 22 to June 24 to verify whether a site bombed by the Israeli air force in September 2006 was indeed a reactor geared towards producing plutonium.

The US believes Syria tried to construct the facility with the help of North Korea. In April, Washington provided the IAEA with intelligence information about the al-Kibar site in the Syrian desert.

Syria should provide “access to individuals, documents and locations relevant to the IAEA inspection”, US ambassador to the IAEA Gregory Schulte told the agency’s 35-nation board.

The call came as the board wound up its latest regular session in Vienna which got underway June 2 and during which the chief topics, besides Syria, included the nuclear activities of Iran and North Korea.

Diplomats close to the IAEA said this week that the inspectors’ trip to al-Kibar would be a visit rather than an inspection, although they would bring along some technical equipment.

The upcoming visit will focus on the al-Kibar site and on discussing modalities for further inspections, the IAEA would also like to visit other sites in Syria that may have been related to reprocessing spent fuel, diplomats said.

In its statement to the board Thursday, Syria again asserted that al-Kibar was a military, but not a nuclear installation, and that there were no other sites related to al-Kibar.

In its statement, Syria indicated it would fully cooperate with the IAEA’s inspectors, a diplomat who participated on the Board of Governors said.

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