Archive for Sunday, August 10, 2008

Additional visit by UN nuclear experts barred

August 10, 2008

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— Syria said Saturday it would bar U.N. nuclear investigators from revisiting a site bombed by Israeli jets on suspicion it was a secretly built atomic reactor.

The move dealt a blow to International Atomic Energy Agency efforts to follow up on intelligence indicating Syria was hiding a nuclear program that could be used to make weapons.

Syria denies it has hidden nuclear facilities.

Justifying its decision, a Foreign Ministry official told reporters Syria's agreement with the U.N. nuclear watchdog - which already inspected the site in June - allowed only one visit. The official, who was not authorized to speak to the media, spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Syrian statement appeared to be prompted by comments made by diplomats accredited to the Vienna, Austria-based IAEA, who told The Associated Press earlier Saturday that Syria late last month turned down a request from the agency for a follow-up trip.

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