U.S. Statement to the IAEA Board of Governors on Syria

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting September 10-14, 2012
Agenda Item 7(d)
Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic
U.S. Statement

Robert Wood
Chargé d’Affaires
U.S. Mission to the IAEA 

Mr. Chairman,

We thank the Director General for his written report underscoring the serious and unresolved issue of Syria’s safeguards noncompliance.  We deeply regret that more than one year after the Board of Governors called on Syria to remedy its noncompliance, the Syrian regime still has not granted the Agency any of the cooperation necessary to do so.  More unconscionable is the fact that after three years of stonewalling the IAEA, the Asad regime is using its brutal repression of the Syrian people as an excuse for not cooperating with the Agency’s investigation.  The regime’s own destabilizing actions are no justification for its refusal to abide by its obligations under the NPT and its Safeguards Agreement, or to respond to the demands of this Board.

In June 2011, the Board found Syria in noncompliance with its Safeguards Agreement for constructing a clandestine nuclear reactor at Dair Alzour, and requested that the DG report the matter to the Security Council.  Syria’s attempt at constructing a covert plutonium-production reactor remains a serious safeguards violation, and its rejection of the international community’s calls to remedy its noncompliance shows its continuing contempt for this Board and for the system of international safeguards.  The Asad regime has given no sign that it intends to cooperate with this Agency regarding Syria’s undeclared nuclear activities.  Just as troubling, Syria’s tactic of sanitizing covert nuclear facilities is indicative of a broader problem of safeguards evasion currently facing the Board, of which the similar efforts undertaken by Iran at Parchin are the latest examples.

We once again call on Syria to take the steps called for by the Board last June, by cooperating fully with the IAEA and by bringing into force an Additional Protocol.  As the international community has made plain for over a year, Syria must allow access to all relevant locations, materials, and persons, including in particular the three additional sites suspected of having a functional relationship to the clandestine Dair Alzour reactor.  Until Syria does so, the Agency will not be in a position to achieve its safeguards objectives of verifying the correctness and completeness of Syria’s declarations.  And until the Agency is able to resolve questions about the exclusively peaceful nature of Syria’s nuclear program, Syria’s noncompliance will remain a matter of serious concern.

The responsibility remains with Syria to remedy its noncompliance, and to demonstrate a constructive approach in its relations with this Agency, the Syrian people, and the international community.  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.  We will continue to look forward to further reporting from the Director General regarding Syria’s compliance with its obligations.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.