Statement of the Czech Republic on Behalf of the European Union at the IAEA Board of Governors, 15-19 June 2009

Item 5 (f): „Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic“

Madam Chairperson,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia associate themselves with this statement.

2. The EU would like to thank the Director General and the Secretariat for their continuing efforts and professional and impartial work in implementing verification activities in the Syrian Arab Republic and for the report on safeguards implementation in the Syrian Arab Republic as contained in document GOV/2009/36. We also thank DDG-SGs, Mr. Heinonen, and his colleagues for organizing a technical briefing on this subject on 10 June.

3. The EU recalls the Director General’s report of November 2008 which stated that the features of the destroyed building, along with connectivity of the site to adequate pumping capacity of cooling water, are similar to what may be found in connection with a reactor site.

Madam Chairperson,

4. We are deeply concerned that, as mentioned in the report GOV/2009/36, the information provided by Syria to date didn’t adequately support its assertions about the nature of the Dair Alzour site and didn’t enable the Agency to determine the nature of the facility and complete its assessment. The Agency’s verification activities therefore need to continue. The EU regrets that the origin of anthropogenic uranium particles found at the site couldn’t be clarified so far and recalls the Agency’s assessment that there was a low probability that the uranium particles were introduced by use of the missiles used to destroy the building on that site.

5. There are reasons for concern that other anthropogenic natural uranium particles had been found in environmental samples taken in August 2008 from the hot cells and from associated equipment of the Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) facility in Damascus. As stated in the latest Director General’s report, the existence of a possible connection between these particles and those found at the Dair Alzour site and their presence at both sites requires further analysis by the Agency. In this context, it is of serious concern that the uranium particles revealed at both facilities are of a type not included in Syria’s declared inventory of nuclear material. 

6. The EU therefore remains seriously concerned about the possibility that Syria has not declared all its nuclear installations, which calls into question the completeness and correctness of Syrian declarations under its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement.

7. The EU further recalls that according to the present report, Syria has provided explanations concerning allegations of activities of an import/export company from the DPRK with an office in Syria and regarding cooperation between nuclear scientists from Syria and the DPRK which are now being assessed. As reported, Syria also provided some additional clarification regarding alleged efforts by its entities to procure materials and equipment which could support the construction and operation of a nuclear reactor. However, based on the information provided so far by Syria, the Agency has not been in a position to confirm these explanations.

8. The EU supports the DG’s clear indication that Syria needs to be more cooperative and transparent. It is essential that Syria provide the Agency at an early date with requested further clarifications and supporting documentation in relation to the functions and nature of the destroyed and currently existing installations at the Dair Alzour site, additional information about the procurement activities as well as further access to the Dair Alzour site, including the water treatment plant, and access to other locations alleged to be related to the Dair Alzour for the sampling of destroyed and salvaged equipment and debris.

9. The EU notes that, as stated in the DG’s Report, since May 2008 the Agency has offered to share all of its satellite imagery and imagery provided by other member states, and that Syria has so far declined to accept this offer.

10. In order to provide the Agency with additional means of investigation and verification and to enable it to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities, the EU continues to urge Syria to sign and ratify the Additional Protocol as soon as possible. This would also help strengthen the confidence of the international community.

Madam Chairperson,

11. Let me recall that the EU has always fully endorsed the Agency’s activities to verify any proliferation allegations in a Non-Nuclear Weapon State, party to the NPT, and to report on its findings in accordance with its Statute. Any obstacles, unnecessary delays or a lack of cooperation of Member States concerned affect adversely the executing of its responsibilities under the NPT and undermine the credibility of the Agency’s verification capabilities. Such cases, therefore, deserve our utmost attention.

12. In conclusion, the EU wishes to reiterate its call upon Syria to provide the Agency with the necessary collaboration and to clarify the remaining questions, which could help assess the nature of activities at Dair Alzour site. We look forward to the next DG’s report for the September session of the Board of Governors which will hopefully reverse the current trend and show progress towards an early resolution of this issue.

Thank you, Madam Chairperson.

* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

Datum aktualizace: 16.8.2011 15:18


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