Today, IAEA Director General ElBaradei received a letter from Mr. Ri Je Son, Director General of the General Department of Atomic Energy of the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea (DPRK), requesting the immediate removal of IAEA inspectors from DPRK in light their decision to lift the "freeze" on their nuclear facilities.
Responding in a letter, Dr. ElBaradei stressed that notwithstanding the lifting of the freeze under the Agreed Framework, the presence of inspectors is needed for the immediate installation of containment and surveillance measures. The continuing presence of inspectors is also needed during the loading of the 5-MWe reactor and during operation of the reprocessing plant.
Dr. ElBaradei said he expects that the Government of DPRK would allow inspectors to remain in Nyongbyon and to install the necessary containment and surveillance equipment (seals and cameras).
Dr. ElBaradei asked them to confirm urgently their concurrence with the requirements of their Safeguards Agreement. He advised them to inform him immediately should they have a contrary view, so that, if necessary, arrangements for the departure of IAEA inspectors can be made.
"Together with the loss of cameras and seals, the departure of inspectors would practically bring to an end our ability to monitor DPRK's nuclear programme or assess its nature," Dr. ElBaradei said. "This is one further step away from diffusing the crisis."