Report: IAEA may leave for N. Korea by next week

July 8, 2007 21:55

UN inspectors plan to return to North Korea in about a week to help the communist nation dismantle its nuclear program and re-establish a presence that ended when they were expelled five years ago, diplomats said Sunday. The diplomats, speaking on the eve of a special meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board that is expected to approve the mission, emphasized that the dates of return - either July 14 or July 17 - were tentative. "They need to be confirmed by the North Koreans," said one of the diplomats, speaking by telephone from Vienna, Austria, the headquarters of the IAEA, the agency tasked with overseeing the process meant to end the nuclear threat from the Pyongyang. Like others who spoke to The Associated Press, the diplomat demanded anonymity in exchange for talking about confidential issues.

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