DPR of Korea has just weeks to comply with resolution, IAEA says

7 January 2003 –

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has just weeks to begin complying with a resolution adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before the matter is referred to the Security Council for action, a spokesperson for the watchdog body said today.

Melissa Fleming told UN Radio that while the resolution adopted yesterday by the IAEA governing board did not specify an exact timeframe or impose a deadline, the text did use the words "urgently" and "immediately."

"[IAEA Director-General Mohamed] ElBaradei is interpreting these two words as a matter of weeks and no longer," she said. "It is a very small window of opportunity in terms of time frame."

The text requires the DPRK to engage in talks immediately with the IAEA and calls for Pyongyang to urgently comply with several measures, including allowing the return of inspectors to the country and getting into compliance with the safeguard agreement with the Agency, the spokesperson noted.

Asked to comment on the DPRK's assertion that "sanctions would mean war," Ms. Fleming said the Agency hoped that such talk would end and that Pyongyang would see that it is not helpful at all.

"It is not rhetoric that would get them to the negotiating table, which would then get them what they say that they need, which is energy, economic help," she stressed. "Once you demonstrate that you are willing to comply very concretely, at that point you will get talks and you will get some of the needs that you are asking for."

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