US: Syria 'can't be allowed' to block IAEA nuclear probe

March 9, 2011 20:50
1 minute read.

VIENNA - The United States warned Syria on Wednesday it "can't be allowed" to stonewall a UN watchdog investigation into a desert site where covert atomic activity may have taken place before it was destroyed by Israel in 2007.

"The United States position on this is that we are not going to let this matter simply fade away or go away," US Ambassador Glyn Davies told reporters on the sidelines of a week-long meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation governing board.

Davies suggested the Arab state may still be pursuing secret atomic work, accusing it of "deliberate efforts to conceal the full extent and scope of what we strongly believe were, and may still be, clandestine nuclear activities."

Davies said the Syrian case represented a challenge to the IAEA's nuclear safeguards regime. "They can't be allowed to simply stonewall and block the investigation."

For more than two years Syria has refused the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) follow-up access to the Dair Alzour site that US intelligence reports said was a nascent North Korean-designed nuclear reactor, intended to produce bomb fuel.

The complex was bombed to rubble by Israel in 2007. Syria, an ally of Iran, denies ever having an atom bomb program.

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