IAEA yet to make Syrian conclusions

11 November 2008

[Reuters, 11 November] The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has criticized diplomatic disclosures that it had found traces of uranium at a site in Syria under investigation, saying this was an effort to prejudge the agency's conclusions. Several diplomats have said that particles of processed uranium have been found in samples taken from the site, near Al Kibar, by IAEA inspectors in June. IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming confirmed that the agency was drafting a report on Syria and that the issue would be discussed at a meeting of the IAEA's board of governors on 27-28 November. However, she stressed that the IAEA's evaluation of findings from the inspection of the site was incomplete and a public verdict was not warranted until then. In September 2007, Israeli jets bombed a building at the site, which US intelligence officials said was a graphite moderated nuclear reactor suitable for weapons-grade plutonium production.