World Bulletin/News Desk
The United States accused Syria on Friday of using the "brutal repression" of its people waging an uprising as an excuse not to address U.N. nuclear watchdog concerns about suspected past illicit nuclear activity in the Arab state.
For its part, Syria insisted at a debate of the governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency that it had agreed last year with the IAEA on how to handle the issue. This was denied on Monday by the IAEA chief in a speech to the board.
The IAEA has long sought access to a site in Syria's desert Deir al-Zor region that U.S. intelligence reports say was a nascent, North Korean-designed reactor designed to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons before Israel bombed it in 2007.
The Vienna-based watchdog has also been requesting information about three other sites that may have been linked to Deir al-Zor.
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said earlier this year that Syria had asked for understanding of its "delicate situation" in response to requests for Syrian cooperation with his inspectors' inquiry.
President Bashar al-Assad is fighting a 17-month-old revolt in which more than 27,000 people have been killed.
U.S. IAEA envoy Robert Wood said Syria's "own destabilising actions are no justification for its refusal" to abide by its commitments under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), set up to prevent the spread of atomic weaponry.
"The Assad regime is using its brutal repression of the Syrian people as an excuse for not cooperating with the agency's investigation," he told the closed-door board governors' session, according to a copy of his speech.
Syria says Deir al-Zor was a conventional military facility but the IAEA concluded in May 2011 that it was "very likely" to have been a reactor that should have been declared to its anti-proliferation inspectors.
"Syria must allow access to all relevant locations, materials and persons, including in particular the three additional sites suspected of having a functional relationship to the clandestine Deir al-Zor," Wood said.
Syrian Ambassador Bassam Al-Sabbagh repeated his country's position that Deir al-Zor was not a nuclear reactor and said an agreement had been reached with senior IAEA officials last October on an action plan on how to clarify the matter.
According to one diplomat present, Al-Sabbagh told the board that if Syria could convince the IAEA that Deir al-Zor was a non-nuclear facility then the issue of the three other sites was "moot".
Amano, the IAEA director-general, did not respond at Friday's board session, but on Monday he told the opening day of the week-long board meeting: "I wish to make clear that no agreement was ever reached on a so-called action plan."
The veteran Japanese diplomat later told a news conference that "some options" had been discussed during the IAEA team's visit to Damascus last year but that they were rejected after a careful review by the IAEA.
"It was not sufficient because the so-called action plan is limited only to the Deir al-Zor site and Syria was not ready to discuss other locations," Amano said.
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) of mostly developing states said in a statement read out by Iranian Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh that it welcomed "Syria's resolve to continue cooperating" with the IAEA.
The meeting is the first of the two absolute monarchs since a major rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia earlier this year and follows attempts by Doha to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
To keep the migrants below the deck, the five men indiscriminately stabbed and assaulted an estimated 60 of their fellow migrants before throwing them overboard, according to police
The cabinet agreed to impose the measures on Ahmed al-Jabr and Abdullah Barghash, his two brothers and his sister, on the recommendations of the interior minister.
Deputies from the State Duma lower house of parliament have drawn up a draft law that would increase income tax for people earning more than more than 1 million roubles ($28,700) a month.
Refugees streaming from Shejaia in the eastern part of Gaza City to the church in the southwestern area of al-Zaytun said they did not know where else they could go now
The suspension of the main opposition group threatens to further polarise the country which holds general elections later this year, which the opposition has threatened to boycott
Residents of Falluja and the nearby town of Garma said helicopters fired artillery and dropped three barrel bombs on Falluja and two on Garma.
With the attacks entering its third week, the Palestinian death toll rose to 616, including nearly 100 children and many other civilians
Jordan has drafted a text similar to a 2009 resolution, calling for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, council diplomats said
The White House said the United States welcomed news that victims' remains and the airplane's black boxes were being transferred to the Netherlands.
Bulgaria will raise its defence spending to 1.5 percent of GDP by 2015 and then gradually raise it further to 2 percent of GDP.
New constitution sweeping endorsement of military who siezed power in May 22 coup.
The Elections Commission said the Jakarta governor had won by just over six percentage points, with 53.15 percent of the nearly 130 million votes cast on July 9.
At least 47 people have died in the week-long Tripoli airport clashes, which involved artillery, Grad rockets and anti-aircraft guns, in some of the heaviest street fighting since the 2011 civil war.
Saddam-era fighters reject "changing the country's political and demographic structure" as Christians flee from ISIL threats.
Despite Western sanctions, he said Moscow would stand by separatists in eastern Ukraine whom, he described as part of a popular rising against an illegal coup.