IAEA chief holds talks in Russia

25th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

The head of the UN nuclear watchdog met Monday with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to discuss nuclear non-proliferation as well as Iran's disputed atomic programme.

Japan's Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is on a three-day visit to Russia.

In June, Moscow approved new UN Security Council sanctions against Iran for the lack of transparency in its nuclear programme, including failing to cooperate fully with IAEA inspectors.

The West suspects that Iran is secretly developing a nuclear weapon, which Tehran denies.

At the start of his meetings in Moscow, Amano said he was "ready to discuss all questions of common interest, beginning with nuclear non-proliferation, and in this context relations between Iran and Syria as well as nuclear security."

Iran and Syria have traditionally had close ties and Damascus has, like Tehran, been criticised by the West over its nuclear activities but insists it complies fully with IAEA requirements.

Syria is accused of building a covert nuclear reactor at a remote desert site called Dair Alzour with the help of North Korea until it was bombed by Israel in September 2007.

For his part, Putin stressed on Monday the need for cooperation in nuclear security due to the development of atomic energy around the world.

"Between now and 2030, some 30 countries will have their own nuclear power plants," Putin told Amano during the first minutes of their meeting which was open to the press.

Amano is expected to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday.

© 2010 AFP

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