US praises Libya’s N-cooperation

September 25, 2008


VIENNA, Sept 24: Libya’s cooperation to regain the UN nuclear watchdog’s trust is an example to other nations, a senior US official said on Wednesday in an allusion to Iran and Syria.

He spoke after the governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency passed a resolution endorsing a Sept 12 report by IAEA inspectors verifying that Libya had eliminated a covert atomic bomb programme as promised in 2003.

“Libya provides an example of how a country can rebuild confidence after serious non-compliance (with non-proliferation commitments),” Gregory Schulte, the U.S. ambassador to the IAEA, told reporters. “We hope other countries under IAEA investigation take note.”

An IAEA investigation of Iran’s nuclear programme dating to 2002 has hit an impasse over what inspectors say is Tehran’s refusal to credibly explain intelligence allegations of covert atomic bomb research, an accusation the Iranians deny.

The IAEA has been probing Syria since April based on US intelligence purporting to show Damascus had almost built a nuclear reactor designed to produce bomb-grade plutonium, before Israel destroyed the site in an air strike a year ago.

Syria has denied the allegations. It allowed the IAEA to take test samples at the site in June but has not responded to requests for further access and the inquiry remains inconclusive, the IAEA’s director reported this week.—Reuters