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IAEA: Ready To Return To North Korea To Monitor Moratorium On Nuclear Program

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said that its inspectors were ready to return to North Korea's nuclear facilities to monitor the moratorium that the country announced on its nuclear activities on Wednesday.

'The announcement by the United States about its recent talks with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is an important step forward,' IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in a statement.

"As I have said before, the Agency has an essential role to play in verifying the DPRK's nuclear program," the head of UN nuclear watchdog said. Pending further details, we stand ready to return to Yongbyon to undertake monitoring activities upon request and with the agreement of the Agency's Board of Governors, he added.

The Vienna-based agency had been monitoring a previous nuclear freeze until its inspectors were kicked out from North Korea in April 2009, shortly before the country's second nuclear weapons test.

North Korea announced a moratorium on its nuclear tests, uranium enrichment, and long-range missile launches on Wednesday.

An assurance in this regard was given last week by the North Korean delegation during the third round of talks with their US counterparts on reviving Six-party talks on Pyongyang's disputed nuclear program, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a statement earlier.

A spokesman for the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed this.

by RTT Staff Writer

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