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

IAEA Board of Governors Meeting
September 12-16, 2011

Agenda Item 5(d)

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in
the Syrian Arab Republic

U.S. Statement

Ambassador Glyn Davies

U.S. Permanent Representative to the IAEA
Mr. Chairman,

We welcome the Director General’s report on this safeguards noncompliance matter, which is of serious concern to the international community.  We commend the Secretariat for its continued professionalism in pursuit of its mandate in Syria.  We regret that, despite the resolution adopted by this Board at its last meeting, and despite Syria’s own pledges of cooperation, Syria has failed to provide the IAEA with any additional information on its clandestine nuclear activities.  In May, the Director General reported that the former facility at Dair Alzour very likely had been a nuclear reactor, which should have been declared by Syria pursuant to its safeguards agreement. This Board, noting with serious concern the conclusions of the Director General, found Syria in noncompliance with its Safeguards Agreement, and reported the matter to the UN Security Council.  Since that time, we deeply regret that Syria has made no substantive effort to remedy its noncompliance.

For over three years, Syria has refused to provide access to all of the vital information, sites, material, or persons repeatedly requested by the Director General, and formally called for by this Board.  Syria’s attempt at constructing a covert plutonium-production reactor, a reactor with no credible peaceful purpose, represents an egregious safeguards violation and a clear act of nuclear proliferation.  Syria’s continued lack of cooperation impugns the authority of the IAEA, this Board, and the broader nonproliferation regime.  It also leaves open continuing questions about the full range of Syria’s hidden nuclear activities.

In his opening statement to the Board, the Director General informed us that, once again, Syria has made a pre-Board pledge offering substantive cooperation after the Board.  We cannot help but wonder if such an offer will lead to as little follow-through as did Syria’s May 26 pledge to the Director General that it would cooperate. We hope the Secretariat can shed more light on precisely what Syria has agreed to discuss with the IAEA during the planned October visit.  The United States looks forward to detailed reporting from the Secretariat after the meeting.

Until such time as Syria cooperates meaningfully with the Agency, including by allowing the IAEA access at the three sites possibly related to Dair Alzour so that the Agency can provide the necessary assurances as to the exclusively peaceful nature of Syria’s nuclear program, Syria’s noncompliance with its safeguards agreement will remain an outstanding matter of serious concern.  After over three full years of deception and denial, the deep credibility gap Syria must bridge in assuring the international community remains. The onus is on Syria to remedy its noncompliance, and to demonstrate a constructive approach in its relations to this Agency and the international community.  In this regard, we call again on Syria to take the steps outlined in the June Board resolution by cooperating fully with the IAEA and bringing into force an Additional Protocol.  Only in this way will the Syrian regime address the nuclear credibility gap it has created.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.