Thursday, 9 June 2011

Guardian: Syria referred to UNSC over suspected nuclear program

IAEA vote rules against Syria for failure to co-operate with inquiry into suspected nuclear project at Dair Alzour site

The Guardian brings news of Syria's referral to the United Nations Security Council by the IAEA with regard to its suspected attempt at nuclear proliferation:
The UN's nuclear watchdog has referred Syria to the security council for failure to co-operate with an enquiry into its suspected covert nuclear weapons programme.

The decision, by a 17 to six vote, with 11 abstentions and one absentee, at the 35-nation governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), increases Syria's isolation. It reflects a formal judgment that it is not in compliance with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty after an IAEA report found that a site known as Dair Alzour, bombed by Israel in 2007, was "very likely a nuclear reactor" for producing plutonium, which Syria should have declared.

"Syria's nuclear intentions at Dair Alzour are clear; the reactor there was built for the express purpose of producing plutonium for possible use in nuclear weapons," Glyn Davies, the American envoy to the IAEA, said.

However, the security council referral is unlikely to lead to sanctions in the near future. The council is not required to act, and Russia and China have signalled that they will oppose punitive measures. Both powers voted against Syria's referral, which was proposed by the US and 12 allies at the IAEA board meeting in Vienna.
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