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Syria faces UN atomic agency inspection

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Syria has agreed to allow inspectors into the country to check alleged nuclear activities, the UN's nuclear watchdog announced on Monday.

"It has now been agreed that an agency team will visit Syria during the period 22-24 of June. I look forward to Syria's full co-operation in this matter," Mohamed ElBaradei told a meeting of the agency's 35-nation board of governors," reports The Times of London.

The visit of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) comes after Syria was accused of launching a covert nuclear program with North Korean aid – an accusation Syria has always denied. Last September, Israeli fighter planes bombed a desert facility in the east of the country, which, the US government said, was being used for nuclear purposes, reports The New York Times.

The atomic agency, the nuclear monitor of the United Nations, had pledged to investigate after American intelligence officials released evidence in late April of what they described as a clandestine nuclear reactor that had been "nearing operational capability" a month before the bombing.
The evidence included a series of close-up photographs of what the Americans claimed was the partly built reactor before its destruction. The Israeli airstrike on Sept. 6 spurred international debate over whether the Syrians were starting a secret program to make nuclear weapons.
Syria has strongly denied the charges. However, it wiped the Euphrates site clean of rubble late last year and erected a new building where the destroyed one had been — a step nuclear experts said would complicate the job of hunting for atomic clues. Some analysts said the rapid cleanup and new construction had been tacit admissions of guilt.
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