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IAEA Probe Claim On Syrian Plant Bombed By Israel

UN nuclear agency to probe claim on Syrian installation bombed by Israel

25 April 2008 - The United Nations atomic watchdog pledged today to conduct an investigation after receiving information from the United States alleging that a Syrian installation destroyed by Israel last year contained a nuclear reactor.

Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in a statement issued in Vienna that the agency would �treat this information with the seriousness it deserves and will investigate the veracity of the information.�

He noted that Syria is obligated under its safeguards agreement with the agency to report the planning and construction of any nuclear facility.

The information provided by the US yesterday states that the installation bombed by Israel last September was a nuclear reactor that was not yet operational and had not had any nuclear material introduced into it.

�The Director General deplores the fact that this information was not provided to the agency in a timely manner, in accordance with the agency�s responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to enable it to verify its veracity and establish the facts,� Mr. ElBaradei said.

�Under the NPT, the agency has a responsibility to verify any proliferation allegations in a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the NPT and to report its findings to the IAEA Board of Governors and the Security Council, as required.�

Given that, Mr. ElBaradei�s statement added, "the Director General views the unilateral use of force by Israel as undermining the due process of verification that is at the heart of the non-proliferation regime."

ENDS

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