He said his trip had been "quite useful" and that it opened the way to a normal relationship.
North Korea "also said that they are fully committed to the February 13 agreement, that they are ready to work with the [IAEA] to make sure that we monitor and verify the shutdown of the Yongbyon facility, including the plutonium factory," el-Baradei said.
Under the February deal, North Korea agreed to begin dismantling its nuclear program, including shutting its Yongbyon reactor, in return for energy and other aid.
It was the IAEA's first negotiations with Pyongyang in more than four years. The visit came as part of long-running international efforts to try and convince North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.
Also today, the U.S. Treasury Department announced steps that could enable the release of North Korean assets frozen in a Macau bank, an action sought by Pyongyang as part of a nuclear arms deal.
(AP, AFP, Reuters)
The Arak heavy-water plant in central Iran (Fars)
BENDING THE RULES. Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, told an RFE/RL-Radio Free Asia briefing on January 9 that the West is hamstrung in dealing with Iran and North Korea because of the way it has interpreted the international nonproliferation regime to benefit friendly countries like India and Japan.
LISTENListen to the entire briefing (about 90 minutes):
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