Time has run out for Syria on nuclear probe, IAEA chief says
The time given to Syria to cooperate on its alleged secret nuclear programme has run out, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Monday.
"The Syrian government was given ample time by the agency to cooperate fully concerning the Dair Alzour site, but did not do so," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano told the agency's 35-country board, DPA reported.
"I judged it appropriate to inform member states of our conclusion at this stage at it was in no-one's interest to let this situation drag on indefinitely."
Amano said in a report last month that a site bombed by Israel in 2007 was likely a nuclear reactor that Syria was building in the desert without telling the nuclear agency.
Based on this conclusion, the United States and other Western countries want the IAEA to find Syria in violation of its nuclear inspection agreement and to refer the issue to the UN Security Council in New York.
Syrian officials claim that the site, known as Dair Alzour or al-Kibar, was a conventional military installation, and have allowed IAEA inspectors only one visit so far.
At a board meeting in Vienna, diplomats said it was still uncertain if the issue would indeed be referred to the UN Security Council, or if the IAEA board would simply find Syria in non-compliance with its obligations.
China and Russia have so far showed little enthusiasm for censuring Damascus.