Syria, Prof.I. Othman, Director General, Atomic Commission of Syria:
The speaker opened by congratulating the president and welcoming Benin as a new member of the IAEA. He expressed concern over the peace negotiations in the Middle East and criticised Israel for refusing to sign the NPT and placing its nuclear facilities under the Agency's comprehensive safeguards. He urged the international community to play an active role in the peace process. It is extremely important to establish a Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone in the Middle East, and Syria hopes that the Agency will take concrete steps in this direction. The speaker noted that during the last two years, the Agency pursued developing its TC strategy, and encouraged main donors to pay their shares to the TCF under their commitment to the developing countries in the NPT. He expressed his appreciation for the technical assistance rendered to Member States by the Agency through experts, equipment, and training, and hopes that the Agency will allocate more TC resources to the supply of equipment because of the difficulties the developing countries face in securing it.