Middle East nuclear issues to top IAEA meeting

22:27, September 13, 2010      

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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held its week-long meeting on Monday with a range of Middle East nuclear issues expected to top the agenda.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano opened the meeting Monday morning at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, and was expected to hold a press conference in the afternoon.

In the weeks leading up to the meeting, Amano had prepared IAEA reports for broad discussions on nuclear issues concerning Iran, Syria, as well as issues related to Israeli nuclear capabilities.

The IAEA report confirmed again no diversion of Iran's declared nuclear materials but said Iran had been continuing its uranium enrichment activities despite UN requests.

IAEA called for Iran to cooperate more with the agency to clarify the nature of its nuclear program. Iranian officials have said the report was politicized and the latest IAEA demands on Iran were beyond the country's UN-agreed nuclear commitments.

On the issue of Israeli nuclear capabilities. The report revealed that during a visit to Israel last month, the IAEA head Amano invited Israel to join the NPT and put all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive safeguards of IAEA.

Israel has enacted a policy of nuclear ambiguity, neither confirming nor denying the existence of its atomic warheads. The stance has drawn sharp criticisms from some Middle East countries.

The report on Syria said the there is sill issues concerning nuclear programs to be clarified.

Western powers have suspected a desert site in Syria bombed by Israeli planes in 2007 hides secret nuclear facilities for military purpose. Syria has denied ever having an atom bomb program.

The 35-nation IAEA Board is expected to discuss other nuclear issues including nuclear safety and security, technical cooperation, nuclear applications, as well as the Agency's program and budget.

Source: Xinhua


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