U.S. Statement on Syria

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
November 17-18, 2011

Agenda Item 4(c)


U.S. Statement

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman,

We welcome the Director General’s update on this matter of continuing serious concern, and commend the Secretariat for its professionalism in pursuing its mandate in Syria.  We deeply regret that despite the resolution adopted by this Board in June, and despite Syria’s repeated pledges of cooperation, Syria has failed to remedy the noncompliance the Board of Governors reported to the United Nations Security Council at its June meeting.  Specifically, Syria has not provided the IAEA any of the access to locations and related information it needs in order to resolve the still outstanding noncompliance the Board has found, as well as additional questions that remain about the extent of that noncompliance.

The June noncompliance finding regarding the Dair Alzour site was based on the sound technical conclusions of the Director General, reached after years of thorough investigation, and remains the IAEA’s judgment based on all available information.  The IAEA judged that Syria’s explanations regarding Dair Alzour are not credible.

Syria’s attempt at constructing a covert plutonium-production reactor represents an affront to the IAEA and the broader nonproliferation regime.  Further, Syria’s continuing failure to remedy its noncompliance is a challenge to the authority of this Board and the system of international safeguards that the IAEA is empowered to implement.

In his opening remarks, the Director General urged Syria to cooperate fully with the Agency in connection with the unresolved issues related to Dair Alzour and other locations.  Such cooperation is essential if Syria is to remedy its safeguards noncompliance.  Syrian cooperation would indeed be welcome after three years of empty offers, including most recently the Agency’s October meeting with Syria in which no progress was made in obtaining full access to requested locations, as the Director General reported to the Board.

Syria’s noncompliance with its safeguards agreement will remain a matter of serious concern until the Agency is in a position to report to the Board the necessary assurances as to the exclusively peaceful nature of Syria’s nuclear program.  To establish such assurances, the IAEA must have immediate access to all relevant locations, materials, and persons, including in particular the three sites that the Agency has noted in prior reports to the Board as possibly related to Dair Alzour.  Failure to cooperate with the Agency will only deepen Syria’s nuclear credibility gap, and will force this Board to consider further appropriate action.

The onus is on Syria to remedy its noncompliance, and to demonstrate a constructive approach in its relations to this Agency and to the international community.  We once again call on Syria to take the steps outlined by the Board in June, by cooperating fully with the IAEA and by bringing into force an Additional Protocol.  The path to compliance is clear, but only Syria can take the necessary steps to achieve it.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.