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IAEA Begins To Verify Syrian Nuclear Reactor Claim

UN team begins work to verify Syrian nuclear reactor claim

23 June 2008 - A team from the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency has arrived in Syria to probe allegations that an installation destroyed by Israel last September was a nuclear reactor.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is treating the information received with the seriousness it deserves, said Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, adding that he looks forward to Syria's full cooperation on the matter.

According to the information, provided to the agency in April by the United States, the reactor was not yet operational and no nuclear material had been introduced into it.

The team arrived in the country on Sunday and is expected to work through tomorrow to determine the veracity of the information received.

Syria is obligated under its comprehensive safeguards agreements to report the planning and construction of any nuclear facility to the Vienna-based IAEA.

Earlier this month, Mr. ElBaradei expressed regret that his agency had not received the information sooner, and that unilateral force was used before the IAEA could establish the facts.


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