The only real option for trying to curb North Korea's nuclear program is to talk to the insular regime, the head of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday. "I don't think sanctions work as a penalty," Mohamed ElBaradei said after a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
"They feel they are isolated; they feel they are not getting the security they need," the Egyptian diplomat who has run the UN agency for nearly a decade said at Georgetown University.
The UN Security Council, at the urging mostly of the United States, has imposed controls on trade in dangerous goods with North Korea. Rice returned Sunday from a trip to Asia and Russia designed to encourage enforcement of the sanctions and to offer assurances of US security support to anxious allies.
"Rice assured them they would continue to be under the US nuclear umbrella," ElBaradei said at Georgetown's foreign service school. Rice made no public statement earlier in a picture-taking session with him in her office.