Saturday, August 9, 2008

Syria's reluctance on reactor site points to guilt

Why would Syria refuse to allow international experts to reinspect the site of a suspected nuclear reactor that Israel bombed last year? There's only one logical answer -- Syria was building a reactor with help from North Korea, as Israel suspected, and doesn't want the West to have proof of its duplicity. International Atomic Energy Agency experts did visit the site in June but wanted to return to the site for further checks, the Reuters international news agency reported. Syria says the al-Kibar complex was a military complex under construction, not a nuclear facility, but denied further access by inspectors. "Syria did not work on setting up a nuclear reactor with the Korean Democratic Republic or any other country," said a statement issued by Syria's foreign ministry, according to Reuters. The ministry said Syria had agreed to only one site visit by the IAEA. "A memorandum of understanding was reached between Syria and the IAEA that stipulated a visit exclusively to the Kibar site and for one time only," the statement said. "Syria has honored this and affirmed that if the agency had any queries after the visit it could present them to the Syrian side to answer." Before the bombing, the United States and Israel had accused Syria of violating the nuclear non-proliferation treaty by trying to construct the Kibar reactor with North Korean technology. Of course, it also would be helpful to know what the inspectors found and why they want to return to the site.

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