Holiday Gift Guide
Gift ideas & reviews for this holiday season
You are here:
Business & Finance
The Great Debate
Do More With Reuters
You Witness News
Make Reuters My Homepage
Support (Customer Zone)
About Thomson Reuters
IAEA chief, West clash over nuclear aid for Syria
Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:21pm EST
Email | Print |
| Reprints | Single Page
By Mark Heinrich
VIENNA (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog chief clashed with some Western nations on Monday over their bid to block aid for a planned Syrian nuclear power plant, saying U.S. intelligence pointing to secret Syrian atomic work was unproven.
Diplomats at a 35-nation meeting of International Atomic Energy Agency governors said Washington, major European Union nations and other Western allies favored shelving the project while Syria was under IAEA investigation over the U.S. reports.
China, Russia and developing nations rejected the Western challenge as "political interference" undermining the IAEA's program to foster civilian atomic energy development.
Western nations were alarmed by an IAEA report last week saying a Syrian building demolished in an Israeli air raid last year bore similarities to a nuclear reactor and inspectors later found striking amounts of uranium particles in the area.
The findings were not enough to prove a covert reactor of North Korean design meant to yield plutonium for atom bombs was there, as U.S. intelligence indicated, the report said.
But further on-scene checks there and at several military sites in Syria, as well as Syrian cooperation with repeated requests for documentation to prove its denials of covert nuclear activity, were essential to draw conclusions, it said.
IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei urged governors to approve the aid project, saying there was no legal basis for curbing Syria's IAEA membership rights based on unverified accusations.
"There are claims against Syria, which we're looking at. There were claims against Iraq, which were proven bonkers (mad), and after, the result was a terrible war," he said in remarks to the closed gathering relayed to Reuters.
U.S. assertions Saddam Hussein had a mass-destruction weapon program led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq but proved unfounded.
SYRIA "INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY"
"So we have to be very careful when we talk about an investigation," ElBaradei said. "Even people who are not a lawyer would know that people and countries are innocent until proven guilty. And we continue to act on that basis."
The aid proposal stirring up the governors was a "technical and economic feasibility and site selection" study drafted by the IAEA Secretariat for a nuclear power station in Syria. It would cost $350,000 and run from 2009 to 2011.
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the IAEA report showed it would be wrong to give technical advice to Syria to build a nuclear power station.
"It's wholly inappropriate.., given the fact that Syria is under investigation by the IAEA for building a nuclear reactor outside the bounds of its international legal commitments."
Cuba, speaking for non-aligned developing states on the board, said IAEA nuclear aid "should not be blocked, delayed or otherwise hindered for mere suspicion or unproven allegations." Continued...
View article on single page
Greenland votes to step closer to independence
Also on Reuters
Luhrmann offers "Australia" as an escape from fear
Highlights from the American Music Awards
More part-time work is bad sign for United States
A selection of our best photos from the past 24 hours. View Slideshow
Bra for boys
Business: Back-to-basics in fashion for U.S. stocks
Environment: South Korea builds city from sea
Science: Scientists shed light on causes of epilepsy
Most Popular on Reuters
Citigroup gets massive government bailout | Video
White House says unaware of any Citigroup rescue talks
Minorities fear trend from California gay marriage ban
Obama costly stimulus needed to jolt U.S. economy | Video
Boom turns to gloom as crisis hits Dubai
Wall Street flies after government rescues Citi
Obama taps Berkeley professor as senior economist
Hundreds wait at Verizon stores for BlackBerry Storm | Video
RPT-TOPWRAP 7-US govt steps in to save Citi, markets rally
R&B star Chris Brown sweeps American Music Awards
Most Popular Articles RSS Feed
U.S. Government bails out Citigroup
Bra for boys is bestseller
Obama's economic stimulus plan
Financial crisis dominates APEC
Astronauts finish longest spacewalk
Venezuela votes, with mixed results
Stocks soar on Citigroup rescue
Whales die in mass stranding
Bush pleges new trade push
Rome calls in the bird-busters
Most Popular Videos RSS Feed
The Great Debate
Reinforcing what? The EU's role in Eastern Congo
The EU seems to lack the political will for military invention in eastern Congo. But it might still be a force for good if it can muster diplomatic unity and take on some practical short-term commitments in support of UN forces. Commentary
The global destination for corporate leaders, deal-makers and innovators
Knowledge to Act
Help and Contact Us |
Advertise With Us |
Interactive TV |
Reuters in Second Life |
Site Index |
Thomson Reuters Corporate:
Professional Products |
Professional Products Support |
About Thomson Reuters |
Latin America |
United Kingdom |
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.