IEAE condemns Syria over nuclear reactor hit by Israel

UK leads UNSC draft resolution condemning Assad.

Syrian nuclear site (photo credit: ISIS)
Syrian nuclear site
(photo credit: ISIS)
NEW YORK – The International Atomic Energy Agency voted at its meeting in Vienna on Thursday to issue a condemnation of Syria due to an undeclared nuclear reactor. Syria has previously said that the Deir Alzour site, destroyed by Israel in 2007, was a non-nuclear military site.
Seventeen countries voted to condemn Syria, and six voted against it, including China and Russia. Eleven countries abstained, and one country was absent from the vote.
On Wednesday four European Union nations introduced a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council condemning Syria for its actions against citizen protesters.
At a press conference after the meeting, UK Ambassador to the UN Mark Lyall said the main elements of the British draft resolution, co-sponsored by France, Portugal and Germany, demand an immediate end to violence and condemn the systematic human rights abuses taking place in the country.
The resolution demands that the Syrian authorities “immediately lift the siege of affected towns. It calls for steps to address the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people, which include reforms that would allow genuine political participation, inclusive dialogue and the effective exercise of fundamental freedoms, and it calls upon all states to exercise vigilance and prevent the supply of arms to Syria,” Lyall said.
Lyall anticipated that the body would vote on the resolution in the next few days after further closed-door consultations and amendments. China and Russia, Syria’s strongest allies on the Security Council, could conceivably exercise their veto over the resolution, however.
Lyall would not address this possibility. “We hope that all members of the Security Council will be able to support this text,” he said.
“We strongly condemn the abuse of human rights by the Syrian government and Syrian authorities and indeed the killings of the protesters, innocent protesters in Syria, but we also are recognizing the fact that in recent days, there have been members of the Syrian armed forces who have been killed,” Lyall said.
In a separate press conference on Wednesday, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice noted that she had “expressed on behalf of the United States our strong support for that text and I underscored that the United States has consistently and repeatedly condemned the horrific actions that the Syrian regime has taken, using violence of an extreme fashion against its own people and peaceful protesters.”
“We have imposed a series of tough sanctions of our own on top of the sanctions we already had in place, including on President Assad and those closest to him,” Rice said. “We will continue our efforts in various fora to make clear that reform must take place and must take place peacefully and that the violence must stop.”