ElBaradei lashes out at Israel over bombed site in Syria

June 18th, 2009 - 7:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Vienna, June 18 (DPA) International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei lashed out at Israel Thursday over its lack of cooperation in uncovering the truth about an alleged nuclear reactor in Syria.
Israel bombed the suspected al-Kibar nuclear site in 2007 without first informing the IAEA. The nuclear agency has repeatedly called on Israel to share intelligence information, while Israel has urged the IAEA to step up its efforts.

“We would appreciate that you would stop preaching to us,” Director General ElBaradei told Israeli ambassador Dan Ashbel at a meeting of the IAEA’s governing board, according to a participant.

His comments were sparked by Ashbel’s call on the director general “to avoid political bias in dealing with Syria’s file”, according to the text of the Israeli diplomat’s statement.

The bombing was a “clear violation of international law”, ElBaradei said.

The US has provided the nuclear agency with intelligence suggesting Syria was close to finishing work on a reactor that was not declared to the IAEA.

Syria has so far only permitted one visit by IAEA inspectors at the bombed site and claims al-Kibar was a conventional military installation.

Israel is widely believed to have nuclear weapons, but has never confirmed it. The country is not part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that limits the global spread of nuclear weapons.

“You are not even a member of the regime to tell us what to do,” ElBaradei said.

At their only visit to al-Kibar, agency experts found particles of man-made uranium which were not part of the nuclear material declared to the IAEA.

In addition, the organisation is investigating the origin of additional traces of man-made uranium found at a small scientific reactor in Damascus.

Noting that Damascus had “chosen to hinder the agency’s efforts” by not providing adequate information and access, the US Thursday called on Syria to cooperate fully “without delay”, said the US statement obtained by DPA.

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