Syria faces UN atomic agency inspection
After accusations of starting a covert nuclear program, Syrian officials have agreed to allow an IAEA inspection later this month.
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In Syria, the accusations have been met with denials, Syria Today magazine reports.Skip to next paragraph
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Samir Altaqi, the general coordinator at Damascus' Orient Centre for Studies, believes that Syria will react to the US allegations by cooperating fully with the international community. "They will make a full disclosure because they have the best defence: innocence. Syria will be able to demonstrate that it has adhered to all of its international obligations," he said
Syrian government officials would not comment on the IAEA visit, but Ahmed Salkini, press secretary at the Syrian Embassy in Washington, provided a statement to The New York Times denying the broader accusations:
"This fabricated story by the U.S. administration will deconstruct from within and without. We are working on different fronts, and with different parties, to ensure that this fabrication is exposed to the world, and this administration embarrassed, once again."
"Acquiring nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is an international trend that all countries are rightfully pursuing. In Syria, we want this to be done within an Arab context, which was discussed and agreed during the Arab Summit in Riyadh."
In Vienna, ElBaradei also sought to reassert his agency's control over the nuclear regulation regime. During his address, he condemned the US and Israel for their unilateral actions targeting Syria, reports the Los Angeles Times blog Babylon & Beyond.
[ElBaradei] also criticized Israel and the U.S., which gave Israel the go-ahead to strike the site last year. ElBaradei said Washington and Israel should have gone to his agency, an arm of the United Nations, before launching air raids.
"It is deeply regrettable that information concerning this installation was not provided to the agency in a timely manner and that force was resorted to unilaterally before the agency was given an opportunity to establish the facts, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Nonproliferation Treaty and Syria's Safeguards Agreement. I should like to remind everybody that NPT states parties have unanimously reaffirmed that the agency is the competent authority responsible for verifying and assuring ... compliance by states with their safeguards agreements."
In response, critics say the agency has to prove its independent worth by forcing Syria to come clean over its nuclear ambitions.