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Libya Signs Accord For Enhanced Inspections

Libya Signs Accord For Enhanced Inspections By UN Nuclear Watchdog Agency

Less than three months after renouncing all programmes leading to the production of internationally proscribed weapons, Libya today signed an agreement granting the United Nations atomic watchdog agency enhanced access to verify that its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes only.

The Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), signed by the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, and Libya's Assistant Secretary for Services Affairs, Matooq Mohamed Matooq, also requires the North African country to provide an expanded declaration of its nuclear activities.

Mr. ElBaradei said the signing, at IAEA's Vienna headquarters, indicated Libya's commitment to move away from weapons of mass destruction while continuing to reap the full benefits of nuclear applications for peaceful uses such as energy, agriculture and medicine. Tripoli has stated its intention to act as if the protocol is already in place, pending its formal entry into force.

Since Libya announced its decision in December to eliminate all materials, equipment and programmes leading to the production of internationally proscribed weapons, the IAEA has been working closely with the authorities in Tripoli to gain a complete picture of the nuclear programme and history.

To date, Additional Protocols are in force in only 54 States. "I reiterate my call on all States that have not done so to conclude and bring into force their respective safeguards agreements and additional protocols," Mr. ElBaradei said.

In presenting his report to the current meeting of the IAEA Governing Board on Monday, he said Libya's failure over many years to declare its nuclear activities represented a breach of its obligation to comply with provisions of the NPT safeguards agreement, "and its acquisition of a nuclear weapon design is clearly a matter of utmost concern."

But he added that since December, Tripoli had responded promptly to IAEA requests for information, while assisting the Agency in gaining a full picture of its nuclear programme.

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