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IAEA Director General to Visit Libya

Vienna, 22 December 2003 |

Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei announced today that he will visit the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (Libya) in the immediate future with a team of senior IAEA technical experts. "The purpose of my visit will be to initiate an in-depth process of verification of all of Libya’s past and present nuclear activities", Dr. ElBaradei said in a news conference. "We shall define the corrective actions that need to be taken and consult on the necessary steps to eliminate any weapons related activities."

The announcement follows a meeting held in Vienna on 20 December 2003 between Dr. ElBaradei and H.E. Engineer Matooq Mohamed Matooq, Assistant Secretary for Services Affairs of the General People’s Committee of Libya. In that meeting, Mr. Matooq informed Dr. ElBaradei of Libya’s decision to eliminate "materials, equipments and programmes which lead to the production of internationally proscribed weapons". The Agency was also informed that Libya had been engaged for more than a decade in the development of a uranium enrichment capability. This included importing natural uranium and centrifuge and conversion equipment and the construction of now dismantled pilot scale centrifuge facilities. Some of these activities should have been, but were not, reported to the IAEA under Libya’s Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA. Mr. Matooq stated, however, that Libya’s nuclear enrichment programme was at an early stage of development and that no industrial scale facility had been built, nor any enriched uranium produced.

Libya has asked the IAEA to ensure through verification that all of Libya’s nuclear activities will henceforth be under safeguards and exclusively for peaceful purposes. In that regard, Libya has agreed to take the necessary steps to conclude an Additional Protocol to its NPT Safeguards Agreement, which will provide the IAEA with broader inspection rights, and to pursue with the IAEA a policy of full transparency and active co-operation.

Dr. ElBaradei said, "Libya’s decision to reverse course is a positive development and a step in the right direction. I hope that through verification, dialogue and active engagement, all questions related to Libya’s nuclear programme can be resolved and the required corrective actions taken." The Director General added, "This latest revelation confirms the need, in parallel with the peace process in the Middle East, for a security dialogue that aims to establish as part and parcel of the peace settlement a sustainable security structure that inter alia turns the Middle East into a zone free from nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction."