Syria: military sites off limits to UN nuke agency

October 3, 2008 16:43


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Syria pledged Friday to cooperate with a UN probe of allegations it had a hidden nuclear program that could be harnessed to make weapons but said its military sites would remain off limits - a condition that could hamstring the investigations. The International Atomic Energy Agency - the UN nuclear monitor - already visited Syria in June to examine a site bombed last year by Israel. The US says the site was a nearly finished plutonium-producing reactor. But diplomats familiar with the issue say requests for further visits that would include onsite inspections of three other locations allegedly linked to the reactor were turned down by Syria after the initial trip. Then - as on Friday - Syria argued that to allow access would compromise the country's military secrets. "We would like to underline that my government is cooperating with the agency in full transparency," Ibrahim Othman, the head of Syria's nuclear program, told a 145-nation IAEA meeting. "However, this cooperation will not be in any way at the expense of disclosing our military sites or causing a threat to our national security."

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