ElBaradei: More transparency needed from Syria
The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog chief said Monday the agency needs more transparency from Syria and others to determine whether traces of uranium found at a site bombed by Israeli planes indicate Damascus was building a nuclear reactor there. International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei confirmed that the radioactive material was found at the site but said the source was inconclusive.
"It's not highly enriched uranium. It could have come from so many different ways," he told reporters in Dubai. "That's why we're looking at so many different scenarios."
ElBaradei made the comments during and after a speech to business leaders here, just days before the IAEA is poised to circulate a confidential report to board members outlining the status of his agency's investigation. "We still have a lot of work to do. We haven't yet reached a conclusion whether that was a reactor or not a reactor," ElBaradei said, according to the AP.
In Washington, U.S. Department of State spokesman Sean McCormack said ElBaradei's comment about the traces indicated that more needed to be found out about the site. "Certainly, that would indicate that there was some basis for this investigation and that it should continue until a full picture is able to be drawn by the IAEA as to what exactly happened at that site," he said.
ElBaradei called specifically for more cooperation from Damascus, saying it needs "a lot of transparency on the part of Syria." He said he was hopeful that Syria would allow inspectors back into the country to carry out further tests. But he also said Israel needs to provide more information to address Syrian allegations that the uranium may have come from Israeli bombs dropped on the site during the September 2007 raid.
ElBaradei also called on countries that have satellite images of the site to cooperate with the investigation. "We need cooperation from everybody," he said. "We are not going to be able to reach a quick conclusion or jump the gun unless we have absolutely credible information."