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Director General Sees Good Beginning in Iraq

Board of Governors

IAEA Board of Governors.

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Addressing the IAEA Board of Governors 28 November, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said the resumption of IAEA and UN arms inspections in Iraq this week marked a "good beginning", and that he hoped for continued cooperation from Iraq.

"I am pleased to report that the first inspections by the IAEA and UNMOVIC began yesterday, with the cooperation of Iraq," he said. "This is a good beginning, and I hope full cooperation will continue throughout the inspection process. The two inspecting organizations will update the Security Council sixty days after the first inspection, as required by the resolution. Naturally, the Agency will make every effort to effectively discharge its mandate, subject to full co-operation by Iraq, with the aim of bringing to full and verified compliance the disarmament process required by the Security Council."

Dr. ElBaradei also addressed safeguards in the Democratic People's of Korea. The IAEA recently contacted DPRK authorities for all relevant information about reports in mid-October suggesting that the DPRK has been working on an undeclared programme to enrich uranium. The Agency additionally expressed the need to discuss, at a senior level, this and all other longstanding issues relevant to the DPRK´s compliance with its obligations under its safeguards agreement.

"Clearly, the existence of such a programme would be a matter of deep concern to all," the Director General said. Under the DPRK´s safeguards agreement (concluded pursuant to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), if such an enrichment programme exists, it has to be declared to the Agency and must be subject to safeguards to ensure its peaceful nature. "I do hope that the DPRK will respond to our inquiry without further delay," the Director said. "I also hope that the DPRK will soon begin a senior level discussion with the Agency on requirements and modalities for compliance with its safeguards agreement."

In addition to verification issues, the Board meeting this week is addressing topics of technical assistance and cooperation, specifically the Agency's programme of projects in a range of fields. Dr. ElBaradei appealed for strong and continuing support to the Agency's mission. "The Agency is assuming rapidly growing responsibilities with significant implications in practically all areas of our work, including verification, safety and security, and sustainable development. This clearly means that we cannot continue business as usual. We need additional resources, and we need your full backing and support," he said.