(Reissued as received.)
VIENNA, 17 March (IAEA) -- In his statement to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors today, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei reported on the latest situation in Iraq. He said, "Late last night ... I was advised by the U.S Government to pull out our inspectors from Baghdad. Similar advice has been given to UNMOVIC. I immediately informed the President of the Security Council for guidance. I also informed the UN Secretary General. I understand that the Security Council will take up the issue today. Naturally, the safety of our staff remains our primary consideration at this difficult time. I earnestly hope -- even at this late hour -- that a peaceful resolution of the issue can be achieved, and that the world can be spared a war." Read full text on Iraq. (http://www.iaea.org/worldatom/Press/Statements/2003/ebsp2003n008. shtml#Anchor-Iraq)
Dr. ElBaradei also reported on the status of the IAEA's safeguards agreement with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. He said: "At this stage, the Agency cannot provide any assurance about the DPRK's nuclear activities, and we are unable to verify that its nuclear material has not been diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices." Read full text on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. (http://www.iaea.org/worldatom/Press/Statements/2003/ebsp2003n008.shtml#Anchor-DPRK)
On nuclear verification, in general, Dr. ElBaradei said: "The nuclear arms control regime is being challenged and is currently under stress. The challenges include: our current effort to verify Iraq's nuclear capabilities; Democratic People's Republic of Korea's blatant defiance of its Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) obligations; failure of countries to fulfil their legal obligations to conclude and bring into force safeguards agreements; slow progress on the conclusion and entry into force of additional protocols; and retrogression of efforts to move towards nuclear disarmament and towards universality. For the nuclear arms control regime to maintain its integrity, progress must occur on all these fronts." Read full text on nuclear verification. (http://www.iaea.org/worldatom/Press/Statements/2003/ebsp2003n008.shtml#Anchor-three).
In his statement, Dr. ElBaradei also reported to the Board on his visit to Iran in February. He said: "During my visit, I emphasized to the Iranian authorities that it is important for all States, and particularly those with sensitive nuclear fuel cycle facilities, to be fully transparent in their use of nuclear technology." Read full text on Iran. (http://www.iaea.org/worldatom/ Press/Statements/2003/ebsp2003n008.shtml#Anchor-Iran)
Mr. ElBaradei also addressed a number of issues on nuclear technology; nuclear security; and nuclear, radiation, waste and transport safety. Read full text of statement. (http://www.iaea.org/worldatom/Press/Statements/2003/ ebsp2003n008.shtml)