IAEA makes no further progress on safeguards in Middle East

The International Atomic Energy Agency has made no further progress on its attempt to apply IAEA safeguards in the Middle East, the agency's director general said on Monday.

Yukiya Amano, the IAEA's director general, made the remarks on Monday as part of his introductory statement to the agency's board of governors. Amano said long-standing differences of views among Middle East countries led to a complete lack of progress since the last report to the IAEA board.

"As my report on Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East shows, there remain long-standing and fundamental differences of views among countries of the region with regard to the application of comprehensive Agency safeguards to all nuclear activities in the region," Amano said. "In these circumstances, it has not been possible to make further progress in fulfilling my mandate from the general conference in this area. I will continue my consultations."

Amano also said there was no progress on the implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in Syria. In May 2011, Amano reported it was likely that a destroyed building in Dair Alzour was an undeclared nuclear reactor. He said the agency was unable to provide any assessment about the operational status or nature of the potentially undeclared reactor and other locations named in the May 2011 report.

Also during his introductory statement, Amano called on North Korea to fully comply with its obligations under relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions and on Iran to fully implement its Safeguards Agreement and other obligations. The IAEA has been unable to work constructively with either country in recent years.