Statement to the IAEA Board of Governors: Syria

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic


IAEA Board of Governors Meeting

March 5-9, 2012 

Agenda Item 4(e) 

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic 

U.S. Statement

Mr. Chairman,

We welcome the Director General’s update on this noncompliance matter of serious concern, and commend the Secretariat for its continued professionalism in pursuing the Agency’s mandate in Syria.  We deeply regret that nine months after this Board called on Syria to remedy its noncompliance, Syria has made no credible effort whatsoever to address the outstanding issues which have been clearly articulated to the Syrian government.

Last June, the Board found Syria in noncompliance with its Safeguards Agreement for the construction of an undeclared nuclear reactor at Dair Alzour, and reported the matter to the UN Security Council.  Syria’s past attempt at constructing a covert plutonium-production reactor remains a serious safeguards violation, and Syria’s continued failure to address its
noncompliance severely undermines the authority of this Board and the system of international safeguards.

At the last meeting of the Board of Governors, the Director General informed us that Syria once again offered to cooperate with the Agency regarding Dair Alzour.  Regrettably, after over three years of denial and deception, it comes as no surprise to learn that Syria has failed to follow through on that pledge. And today, as then, this Board is left once again to wait for the arrival of
Syrian cooperation which looks increasingly unlikely to materialize.

Some will argue that Syria no longer poses any proliferation risk, and the board should turn its attention elsewhere.  To the contrary, Syria’s continued refusal to cooperate with the Agency to resolve concerns raised by its noncompliance has a corrosive effect on the Agency’s central role in the nuclear nonproliferation regime.  This will remain a matter of serious concern until the Agency can provide the necessary assurances as to the exclusively peaceful nature of Syria’s nuclear program.  Syria must allow access without further delay to all relevant locations, materials, and persons, including in particular the three sites the Agency has noted are possibly related to Dair Alzour.

The responsibility is Syria’s to remedy its noncompliance, and to demonstrate a constructive approach in its relations with this Agency, the Syrian people, and 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 bringing into force an Additional Protocol.  Only Syria can take the necessary steps to remedy its noncompliance, and to return to productive engagement with the international community.   Until then, the Board must remain seized of this matter, and should be prepared to consider further action if necessary.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.