Australian Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations
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Agenda item 5(d): Implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic

IAEA Board of Governors

Agenda item 5(d): Implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic

23 November 2023

Statement by Mr Jarrod Powell, Alternate Resident Representative of Australia to the IAEA



Australia thanks the Director General for the update provided in his opening statement to the Board on the implementation of safeguards in the Syrian Arab Republic. We welcome continued efforts by the Secretariat to address outstanding questions concerning the Dair Alzour site and all related locations. We note the Director General’s willingness to engage with Syria to make progress on these issues, as expressed in his letters to Syria in May last year, and August this year.


It has now been more than 12 years since this Board found that Syria’s undeclared construction of a nuclear reactor at Dair Alzour, and failure to provide related information, constituted a breach of its safeguards obligations. At that time, the Board called upon Syria to remedy its non-compliance urgently and fulfill its obligations by providing necessary information to the IAEA. Australia remains deeply concerned by Syria’s continued lack of cooperation with the Agency.

We call on Syria to take the opportunity offered by the Director General to demonstrate its commitment to cooperating fully and constructively with the Agency.


Despite Syria’s continued unwillingness to engage constructively with the Agency, some delegations have made calls for this issue to be removed from the Board’s agenda. Australia reiterates that addressing this case of safeguards non-compliance is a matter of critical importance for all Member States committed to preserving the credibility of the safeguards regime. The passage of time cannot be justification for the Board to cease addressing a case of non-compliance with safeguards obligations.

Until all outstanding questions regarding Syria’s non-compliance are satisfactorily resolved, we request that this item be retained on the agenda for all future meetings of the Board, and that the Director General continue to keep Member States apprised of developments.

Thank you Chair.