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UN Nuclear Watchdog Chief To Visit Libya Again

UN Nuclear Watchdog Chief To Visit Libya Again To Verify Non-Proliferation

The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency will visit Libya at the beginning of next week to review progress in verifying that all of the North African country's nuclear activities are placed under safeguards and designed exclusively for peaceful purposes.

The Director-General of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, will meet with senior Libyan officials on 23 and 24 February during his second visit since Tripoli announced in December that it would fulfil all obligations under regimes covering the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

In that regard, Libya has agreed to take the necessary steps to conclude an Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which will provide the IAEA with broader inspection rights, and to pursue a policy of full transparency and active co-operation with the Agency.

On his first visit in late December, Mr. ElBaradei was accompanied by an IAEA team of experts to initiate an in-depth process of verification of Libya's past and present nuclear activities.

The visit followed meetings in Vienna between Mr. ElBaradei and Matooq Mohamed Matooq, Assistant Secretary for Services Affairs of the General People's Committee of Libya, informing the IAEA of Libya's decision to eliminate "materials, equipments and programmes which lead to the production of internationally proscribed weapons."

After the visit Mr. ElBaradei said Libya's nuclear programme was "at an early stage of development." Last month the IAEA agreed with the United States and the United Kingdom that they would remove "sensitive" equipment and material from Libya while the Agency verifies that the country is free of weapons of mass destruction.

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