A 2005 satellite image of the nuclear reactor at Yongbyon (AFP)
VIENNA, July 9, 2007 -- The governing body of the UN's nuclear watchdog has authorized the deployment of monitors back to North Korea.
Muhammad el-Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says the agency's board of governors agreed in Vienna today that they would send experts to North Korea to supervise the closure of its plutonium-producing reactor.
El-Baradei said the timing of the visit depends upon when Pyongyang issued an invitation.
North Korea has agreed to close its Yongbyon nuclear complex in exchange for fuel oil. It has said that IAEA monitors will be granted access to that complex after the first fuel shipment is delivered.
The presence of IAEA monitors in North Korea ended in 2002 when inspectors were expelled after the United States presented evidence suggesting North Korea has a secret nuclear weapons program.
(Reuters, AP, AFP)