Friday, April 17, 2009

U.N. Nuclear Inspectors Leave North Korea

U.N. nuclear inspectors left the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) yesterday after being ordered out of the country earlier this week, following the U.N. Security Council's condmenation of North Korea's rocket launch on April 5, Here is an excerpt from a U.N. press release issued today.

On Tuesday, the DPRK informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it was no longer cooperating with the agency, on the heels of the Security Council’s condemnation of its recent rocket launch.   The country also requested the IAEA to remove all of its containment and surveillance equipment, ordering the UN inspectors to leave immediately. Yesterday, inspectors at the Yongbyon nuclear facilities removed all IAEA seals and switched off its surveillance cameras.

In 2007, the IAEA verified that the DPRK had closed the Yongbyon reactor, and since then, its inspectors had continued to monitor and verify the shutdown status. In a presidential statement issued on Monday, the Security Council said it deems the DPRK’s 5 April launch to be in contravention of resolution 1718, which demanded that the country “not conduct any further nuclear test or launch of a ballistic missile,” following its claims to have conducted a nuclear test in October 2006. “The Security Council demands that the DPRK not conduct any further launch,” according to the statement, which expressed the body's desire for a “peaceful and diplomatic solution to the situation” and welcomed Member States' efforts to reach a “comprehensive solution through dialogue.”  It also said that it will adjust sanctions, imposed by the 2006 resolution, by the end of this month.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the adoption of the Council statement, “which sends a unified message of the international community” on the DPRK’s launch. Mr. Ban voiced hope in a separate statement that the Council’s actions will “pave the way for renewed efforts towards the peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues in the region, including through the early resumption” of inter-Korean dialogue and of the Six-Party Talks, which involve China, DPRK, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States.

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