Syria denies stonewalling UN atomic probe

Syria insists it had answered all the UN atomic watchdog`s questions.

Last Updated: Sep 23, 2010, 11:59 AM IST

Vienna: Syria on Wednesday denied that it was not cooperating with a UN atomic watchdog probe into alleged illicit nuclear activities, insisting it had answered all the agency`s questions.

"I would like to assure you that Syria was and still is committed to cooperation with the agency," Syria`s Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Bassam Sabbagh, told the body`s annual general conference being held here this week.

"Syria has supplied the agency with information and with the necessary replies to all their queries and this was sufficient to verify the nature of this site," he said.

Syria is accused of building a covert nuclear reactor at a remote desert site called Dair Alzour with the help of North Korea until it was bombed by Israel in September 2007.

Damascus allowed IAEA inspectors to visit the site once in 2008, but has refused to permit any follow-up visits.

The IAEA has said the building bore some of the characteristics of a nuclear facility and UN inspectors also detected "significant" traces of man-made uranium at that site.

But these have not yet been explained by Damascus.

The IAEA also requested access to three other locations allegedly functionally related to Dair Alzour, also so far to no avail.

PTI