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IAEA seeks compromise over Syrian nuclear aid issue: diplomats

by Staff Writers
Vienna (AFP) Nov 25, 2008
The UN atomic watchdog's member states agreed Tuesday to adjourn a decision over whether to help Syria with the possible construction of a nuclear reactor until Wednesday, diplomats said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's Technical Assistance and Cooperation Committee (TACC) failed to reach a final decision after the second day of talks on Tuesday.

Western countries such as the United States, Canada, Britain, France and Australia, have all expressed opposition to Syria's request for IAEA help in studying the technical and economic feasibility of a nuclear power plant, and for help selecting possible sites.

The project, which is to run from 2009 to 2011, is estimated to cost 350,000 dollars.

The western countries say it would be "highly inappropriate" for the IAEA to share sensitive technical information with Damascus while it was still under investigation for allegations of illicit nuclear work at a remote desert site.

But other countries, such as China, Russia and developing nations, see the Western challenge as "political interference" that undermines the IAEA's programme to foster civilian atomic energy development.

Diplomats who attended the closed-door session on Tuesday said that a compromise deal had been largely sketched out that would seek to address the concerns.

The final wording of the agreement was now expected to be rubber-stamped on Wednesday, the third and final day of the TACC's annual meeting, the diplomats said.

The TACC usually makes its recommendations by consensus to the IAEA's 35-member board of governors, and the governors are set to meet on Thursday and Friday.

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Syria dismisses nuclear allegations
Vienna (AFP) Nov 21, 2008
Syria said Friday a building bombed by Israeli planes last year was not a covert nuclear reactor, as Washington stuck to its allegations which it said was borne in a findings by the UN nuclear watchdog.

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