Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in comments published on Thursday that Syria would cooperate with UN inspectors due to visit this month to probe claims Damascus was building a nuclear facility. "Syria invited the IAEA and will cooperate with it," Assad was quoted by the official SANA news agency as telling journalists during a visit to Kuwait which ended on Thursday.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Monday it would send a team of experts to investigate US and Israeli claims that Syria had been building a nuclear reactor with North Korean help, allegations denied by Damascus. The site at Al-Kibar was bombed and destroyed by Israeli warplanes in September.
Assad said an agreement signed between Syria and the IAEA states that inspections by the UN nuclear watchdog cannot be carried out on the basis of news reports. "Otherwise Israel would have sent a report every day about a nuclear reactor anywhere in Syria that would serve as a justification for the IAEA to come," he said.
In other comments to newspapers in the United Arab Emirates published on Tuesday, Assad again strongly denied the allegations. "If anyone had a secret dossier on nuclear facilities in Syria with a Korean role, as they claim, then why did they wait for seven months before destroying a normal military facility by the Israeli raid?" he asked.