Libya praised for IAEA cooperation

The UN nuclear watchdog says in a report that Libya has been telling the truth in its declarations on the covert atomic weapons programme which it agreed in December to abandon.

    The IAEA exonerates Libya's nuclear claims

    Portions of the confidential report were circulated by a Western diplomat in Vienna on Monday.

    "The agency's assessment to date is that Libya's declarations on its uranium conversion programme, enrichment programme and other past nuclear-related activities appear to be consistent with information available to and verified by the agency," the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.

    IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said: "We've had excellent

    cooperation" since Libya agreed in December to dismantle its

    programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction.

    However, the agency said there were still some issues that required further probing in order to reach a definitive conclusion on Tripoli's covert quest for the bomb.

    Further investigation


    "There are still some areas related to the acquisition of (uranium hexafluoride), uranium conversion technology and enrichment technology that need further investigation in order to fully verify the completeness and correctness of Libya's declarations," the diplomat quoted the report as saying.

    The IAEA also called on all member states to continue cooperating with the UN probe of the nuclear black market that supplied Libya, Iran and North Korea with sensitive nuclear technology.

    Libya announced in December 2003 that it was abandoning its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes and invited the IAEA and other international verification bodies to oversee its disarmament.

    The IAEA is expected to issue a similar progress report later this week on its inspections of Iran's nuclear programme.

    US pressure

    The IAEA is accused of being biased
    when dealing with Israel and the US

    In contrast to Tripoli, which purchased nuclear technology from a Pakistani-led procurement network and admits wanting it for weapons, Tehran says its illicit purchases were part of a peaceful atomic energy programme.

    The United States accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian energy programme, a charge Iran denies.

    Washington has repeatedly attempted to pressure Tehran to follow Libya's example and voluntarily disarm.

    Iran has, however, clarified that it is continuing with the building of a nuclear plant in order to meet its increasing energy demands.

    Other countries including Iran have consistently raised the question of Israel's nuclear programme and why the UN nuclear watchdog has not probed it or encouraged disarmament.

    Some analysts have also highlighted the US nuclear capability which needs to be probed by the IAEA.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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