United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today voiced concern about the recent decision by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to lift the freeze on its nuclear facilities maintained under the 1994 Agreed Framework with the United States, and to resume the operation and construction of nuclear facilities to generate electricity.
Through a statement issued by his spokesman in New York, Mr. Annan urged Pyongyang to comply with its safeguards agreement, cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and eschew "any unilateral act" that might complicate the Agency's ability to carry out its responsibilities under the IAEA-DPRK safeguards agreement.
"The Secretary-General calls upon all concerned to cooperate to resolve the complex situation through peaceful means and strongly urges the continuation of international efforts to reach a positive outcome of the situation, consistent with international norms," the statement said.
Earlier Friday, Mr. Annan commented on the situation in the DPRK, saying the UN was in touch with the IAEA and the Koreans on the issue. "I hope we will not get to the stage where they will kick out the inspectors," he said in response to press questions. "I know there are hints about that, but I hope it doesn't happen."
Meanwhile in Vienna, IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei told a press conference that if the country were to operate its nuclear facilities, it would have to be under proper safeguards.