UN nuclear agency "ready to return" to North Korea

February 29, 2012 18:00

VIENNA - The UN nuclear watchdog stands ready to return to North Korea, its chief said, after the reclusive state agreed to stop nuclear tests and enrichment and let inspectors visit its Yongbyon nuclear complex to verify the moratorium has been enforced.

"As I have said before, the agency has an essential role to play in verifying (North Korea's) nuclear program," Director General Yukiya Amano of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.

"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 said, referring to the 35-nation body that meets next week.

He called the US statement about its recent talks with North Korea "an important step forward."

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