February 24, 2007


N. Korea invites U.N. nuclear monitor: Pyongyang says it will discuss shutting down its weapons program (Bob Drogin, 2/24/07, LA Times)

In a fresh sign of easing tensions, North Korean officials Friday invited the chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency to visit Pyongyang next month to develop plans aimed at dismantling the nation's nuclear weapons program, officials said here.

Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he hoped to discuss the "shutdown and eventual abandonment" of the plutonium-producing reactor facility at Yongbyon, ending its ability to produce fuel for additional nuclear weapons. [...]

"I see this as a step toward the denuclearization of the North Korean peninsula," ElBaradei told reporters in a joint briefing with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who is visiting Vienna. A spokeswoman said ElBaradei probably would visit in the second week of March.

The White House, which is eager to see North Korea disarm, applauded the invitation as a sign of progress. "It's a positive sign," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto. "It shows that we're beginning to execute the terms of the agreement."

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 24, 2007 12:00 AM
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