A high-level IAEA delegation headed by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei is en route to the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea) to begin two days of talks on issues of "mutual concern". Dr. ElBaradei welcomed the visit as a "the first step in a long process" toward the normalization of the relationship between DPRK and the Agency.
Before his departure in Vienna on Sunday, 11 March, Dr. ElBaradei told reporters he looked forward to the IAEA´s return to DPRK after an absence of almost five years and to establish a new framework for cooperation.
"I would like to focus on how to bring the DPRK closer to the Agency," he said. "I would like also to discuss the broad framework for how to implement the Beijing Agreement among the Six-Party talks which foresees that the Agency will monitor and verify the freeze of the Yongbyon nuclear facility including the reprocessing facility."
Dr. ElBaradei is meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing before and after his visit to North Korea. The IAEA delegation is meeting with DPRK officials in Pyongyang at meetings scheduled on 14 and 15 March. DPRK officials extended the invitation for the visit to Dr. ElBaradei on 23 February 2007.
An agreement reached in Beijing on 13 February foresees that the DPRK will shut down its nuclear facility at Yongbyon including the reprocessing facility, and accept Agency inspection, verification and monitoring at the facility.