Is US Scrutinizing Syria’s Clandestine Nuclear Activities?

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With reports making headlines that Syrian regime is using chemical weapons against its people, the United States of America today said Syria has not taken any concrete steps to address the outstanding serious questions about its clandestine nuclear activities.

In his remarks on NPT Regional Issues: Second Session of the Prepatory Committee in Switzerland, Assistant Secretary Thomas M. Countryman for Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation says it has been nearly two years since IAEA Director General Amano reported that the facility destroyed in 2007 at Dair Alzour was “very likely” a nuclear reactor that should have been declared to the Agency pursuant to Syria’s safeguards agreement.

He indicates that in June 2011 the IAEA Board of Governors found Syria in noncompliance with its safeguards agreement and, in accordance with the IAEA Statute, referred the matter to the UN Security Council.

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Bombedout vehicles after street fighting in Aleppo, October 2012

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

“To date, Syria has not taken any concrete steps to address the outstanding serious questions about its clandestine nuclear activities.” – Mr. Countryman

He notes that the Assad regime’s brutal campaign of violence against the Syrian people and the resulting unrest cannot be an excuse for not cooperating with the IAEA.

US: Syria remains obligated to remedy its noncompliance immediately

According to Mr. Countryman, Syria is obligated to remedy its noncompliance with regards to its safeguard agreements and demonstrate a constructive approach in its relations with the IAEA and the international community.

“Noncompliance should be a matter of serious concern to NPT Parties.” – Mr. Countryman

He stresses that as agreed in the 2010 Action Plan, it is vitally important that all NPT Parties support the resolution of all cases of noncompliance with IAEA safeguards and other nonproliferation requirements.

The Treaty and the regime can only be as strong as the Parties’ will to uphold the Treaty’s integrity, he underscored.

Is Syrian regime using chemical weapons?

Reports have made headlines that there is a growing evidence that Syrian government troops have used chemical weapons.

The White House reportedly said that Syria had used the nerve agent sarin on a “small scale”.

However, Syrian officials slammed the allegations, saying the accusations are “lies”.

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U.S. Honest John missile warhead cutaway, showing M134 Sarin bomblets (c. 1960)>

Reports also indicated that if proven the Syrian government is using chemical weapons, it would be a “red line” for possible international intervention.

However, amid the numerous accusations, there is no confirmation yet that chemical weapons have been used during Syria’s two-year-old conflict.

US committed to non-proliferation efforts and adherence to NPT

While in Switzerland, Mr. Countryman has underscored that the United States continues to support universal adherence to the Treaty.

“US seeks to further strengthen and uphold the Treaty.” – Mr. Countryman

He notes that developments in the Middle East continue to present challenges to the NPT and to our collective security.

He also stresses that the United States remains committed to convening a conference on a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction.

The US regrets that it proved impossible to meet last year as envisioned in the 2010 NPT Review Conference Final Document. This was not a breach of the Action Plan as some suggest a'” but it was a major disappointment.

However, Mr. Countryman says they are not discouraged.

Although they missed an important deadline, but they have not yet missed the opportunity to transform the security environment of the region.

Syrian Crisis: Is US Turning a Deaf Ear?

With speculations continue to stir that US is turning a deaf ear on Syrian crisis especially when it come to its leaderhip role, US State Secretary John Kerry said the US playing the significant role in addressing the crisis and not the other way around.

Secretary Kerry said he doesn’t agree with the premise that US is not playing greater role in Syrian crisis.

According to Secretary Kerry, the President has led an effort together with a number of other countries, but led an effort that Secretary Clinton was very active and moving around, trying to speak with the opposition, identify them, bring them together, help them unify, get them recognized.

He explained that all of that has come together with significant input from the United States of America.

In addition, President Obama has sent Secretary to Rome in an effort to ratchet it up yet another notch.

US Deeply involved in the crisis?

Secretary Kerry said US is not finish at all in terms of aiding the opposition.

US is deeply involved in helping the Jordanians and others be able to deal with that crisis.

In addition, US is helping with respect to the camps in Turkey.

US pledges $60M of nonlethal assistance to the Syrian opposition

Believing that the Syrian Opposition Coalition cannot successfully lead the way to a peaceful transition alone, the United States of America has pledged $60M of nonlethal assistance to the Syrian opposiiton.

The funding will allow the opposition to reach out and help the local councils to be able to rebuild in their liberated areas of Syria so that they can provide basic services to people, who often lack access today to medical care, to food, to sanitation.

In addition, the funding will help those who work within them, those without blood on their hands, to be able to continue to do their important humanitarian work.

US will also channel this assistance to those projects and local groups that the coalition decides needs it the most.

This new support that President Obama has ordered is on top of more than 50 million that US provided to help the Syrian activists organize opposition efforts across the country to be able to communicate with each other and to broadcast a message of hope across their country.

US aid to Syria

In November 2012, the United States of America provided $30 million in additional humanitarian assistance to respond to the needs of Syrian people affected by the turmoil.

In Syria, the additional funding will allow for provision of food aid to families in need.

In neighboring countries, the additional assistance from the United States will provide food supplies, hot meals, and food vouchers for families who have fled the violence in Syria.

In addition, the additional assistance will be provided through the World Food Program (WFP), which is providing food aid to 1.5 million people in Syria and the refugees who have fled to neighboring countries.

The United States is the largest donor of food aid for those affected by the conflict in Syria through WFP.

In August 2012, with the violence engulfing Syria, the United States of America has announced an additional $12 million in humanitarian assistance, bringing the total amount of U.S. emergency aid to more than $76 million.

The U.S. government continues to place on ending the escalating violence which has uprooted hundreds of thousands of Syrians.

The humanitarian needs continue to grow whre the number of Syrians displaced to neighboring countries now exceeds 130,000, with nearly 1.5 million in need inside Syria, including UN-estimated one million internally displaced persons.

The Syrian violence has led a crisis on a humanitarian scale that is of the highest priority within the U.S. government, and for which the US pledges to continue to provide support.

In April 2012, with the deteriorating situation in Syria due to turmoil, the United States of America has bolstered efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by the conflict in the country.

The UN estimates that there are over 2 million Syrians inside Syria in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Of that number, it’s an estimated 300,000 internally displaced.

United States has dedicated some $33 million to support the important work to assist and protect those in need in Syria and neighboring countries, and much more is on the way.

The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 70, 000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.

Syrian crisis getting worse every day?

With President Assad’s showing no sign to stepping down and with the incessant conflict continues to destabilize the country, the world now is witnessing a rapid deterioration of an already devastating situation in Syria, where at least 70,000 Syrians have been killed and millions displaced.

The Syrian people continue to face deplorable attacks and massacres by regime forces, including the use of heavy weapons, aircraft, and ballistic missiles.

US considers these actions as proof of the Assad regime’s complete disregard for the lives of Syria’s citizens, including its children.

March was reportedly the deadliest month of the conflict with over 6,000 Syrians killed and with three to 4 million people are now internally displaced.

Refugee crisis worsens

The exponential surge in refugees is among the clearest signs of this dire situation in Syria.

More than 1.2 million people are refugees and is predicted these numbers could double or even triple by the end of this year, nearly one third of Syria’s population.

Today, over 400,000 Syrians have fled in the last seven weeks alone and sought refuge in the neighboring countries.

Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and UN humanitarian agencies are approaching a saturation point with the surge of refugees.

The US is deeply grateful to the Government of Kuwait for fulfilling its generous contribution of $300 million to UN agencies and other international organizations.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.