Transcripts of Interviews

Transcript of IAEA Director General and UN Secretary-General´s Press Remarks

IAEA Headquarters Vienna

23 February 2007

(See UN)

MOHAMED ELBARADEI, DIRECTOR GENERAL, IAEA: Let me first very warmly welcome Secretary-General.

Ban Ki-moon, who is not a newcomer to Vienna or to the Agency. The Secretary-General has been, as you know, Ambassador to Vienna for many years. He has been a distinguished Ambassador here. He is a good friend of long standing and I very much welcome him to his second home in Vienna.

We had a very constructive discussion on many issues, obviously of mutual interest. The first with regard to North Korea, when I informed the Secretary-General that I received today an invitation from the North Korean Government to visit North Korea to work toward normalization of relationship between the Agency and DPRK, and also to discuss issues of mutual concern. I very much welcome that opportunity to? This, I believe this is very much a step in the right direction toward implementation of the normalization and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

We also discussed Iran and we both share the concern of the international community that Iran has not responded positively to the demands of the Security Council. We believe still that the door is still open; there is a window of opportunity for both Iran and the international community to go back to the negotiating table. I believe this is the way for a long-term solution and we would obviously continue to work to see that that will happen sooner than later.

I expressed to the Secretary-General my great admiration for his work, my trust that he will be a very distinguished leader at a time when the international community needs more and more multilateral diplomacy and international cooperation. And I will let the Secretary-General speak.

BAN KI-MOON, SECRETARY-GENERAL, UN: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I thank you, Dr. ElBaradei for your very kind words. I am very pleased to be back to Vienna. This is the place where I used to discuss many matters of mutual concern with Dr. ElBaradei. Our relationship has been long-standing on the basis of mutual respect and understanding. I have a high admiration and respect for his contribution for the peace and security of the world, particularly in the field of non-proliferation of WMD and disarmament.

As he explained, we discussed wide-ranging issues, particularly covering DPRK, North Korea? DPRK nuclear issue and Iranian nuclear issues. I welcome Dr. ElBaradei´s visit to DPRK. I am confident that his visit to Pyongyang will make a great contribution to implement the joint statement, which was adopted among Six Parties on [February] 13 [this] month. I hope that he and his delegation will be able to discuss with the North Korean authorities on detailed matters, on first freezing nuclear facilities and including the eventual dismantlement of all nuclear weapons and facilities. I am confident that through this process, the Korean Peninsula will be able to realize the ultimate denuclearization, which has been a long commitment both of South and North Korea and a wish of the international community.

I also hope that during his visit, the IAEA and DPRK will be able to discuss the pending issues of status with IAEA. This is an encouraging development of the situation, again, after the agreement on [February] 13th. I would sincerely hope that the international community, not only the parties to the Six Party process, but the whole international community would encourage such a process of resolving the North Korean nuclear issue as soon as possible.

In terms of the Iranian nuclear issue, I am very much concerned, again, that the Iranian authorities have not been able to meet and comply fully with the Security Council resolution. I sincerely hope that the Iranian authorities will continue their dialogue with the international community. This is the best way to resolve all the issues. Now that the IAEA Director General´s report is received by the Security Council, I understand that the Security Council members will again discuss this matter. Even under this situation, I hope dialogue will continue, for mutually satisfactory resolution. At the same time I urge again Iranian authorities to fully comply, not only with the Security Council resolution, but respond positively to the wishes of the international community, who really would like to see peaceful resolution of this issue. Thank you.

Q: Good afternoon, Dr. ElBaradei, Secretary-General. Do you think that the report which has documented Iran´s defiance of requests that were made for a long time about... [inaudible]?, can avoid in the short term some sort of confrontation or escalation of the situation?

ELBARADEI: Well, I still very much hope so. Again the reaction that you saw from the international community, in particular the Six Parties that are engaged in the dialogue with Iran, they made it very clear that they would like to see eventual resolution of the Iranian issue through the negotiating ?negotiation. You remember, Michael [journalist from AFP] I had this idea of a simultaneous time-out, I mean that idea is still on the table; it has not been to my knowledge rejected by any party, I think every, all the parties think it´s a ? it could be a good beginning but it needs to be translated into details and I hope, you know, in the next few weeks, while the international community, as the Secretary-General said, will probably also be working through the Security Council, that we would like to see a dialogue between the concerned parties, to see how we can create the conditions to go back to negotiations and ensure a long-term solution to the problem.

BAN: If I may add just one thing, it´s that I hope sincerely that the Iranian authorities should learn from the case of the North Korean nuclear issue. They should think about a better future for their country and their people, through dialogue.

Q: Dr. ElBaradei, what specifically do you hope to accomplish in North Korea on this trip?

ELBARADEI: Well I think, according to the letter of invitation, they would like to see how we can improve, normalize relationship with the Agency, which is a positive development, I hope eventually they will come back to be a member of the IAEA. We are obviously also going to discuss issues of mutual concern, as we discussed, and that obviously includes how we can implement the agreement reached about the freeze of facilities of Nyongbyon, and eventual dismantlement of these facilities, so the discussion hopefully will be wide-ranging, but the first is how to develop a plan to freeze the Nyongbyon facilities in accordance with the agreement, and more important for me to make sure they come back to the Agency as full-fledged member of the Agency, where we not only provide verification, but also provide assistance in many areas, in terms of nuclear applications, in terms of nuclear safety, and many other areas, so I welcome very much that opportunity and I hope that it will be a constructive visit. Thank you very much.

BAN: Thank you very much.

Responsible/Contact: Division of Public Information | Last update: 21 January 2011