16 March 1998
IAEA Board of Governors
Excerpts from the Introductory Statement by IAEA Director General
Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei



In December, I informed the Board that no progress had been made on important issues during the eighth round of technical discussions with representatives of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), which took place in Vienna in the week beginning 20 October 1997. The same lack of progress characterized the ninth round which took place in Pyongyang from 23 - 28 February 1998. Some day to day implementation issues were resolved. However, there was still no progress with regard to other long-standing and important issues including agreed measures for the preservation of information, which must remain available to enable the Agency to verify, in the future, the correctness and completeness of the DPRK's initial declaration and compliance with its Safeguards Agreement. The DPRK continues to link progress in the consultations with the Agency to progress in the implementation of the Agreed Framework, which according to DPRK, is well behind the agreed schedule.

Additional, the DPRK side continued to reject sampling and measurement at the reprocessing plant, e.g. of the liquid nuclear waste to verify that there is no movement or operation involving such waste. The DPRK side also rejected the taking of environmental swipe samples at the hot cell of the research reactor which is presently under a routine inspection regime, since they consider that the DPRK's Safeguards Agreement is not fully in force. There was also no progress on the issue of access by inspectors to technical support buildings at facilities subject to the freeze.

I would also report that the whole canning operation for the irradiated fuel is now expected to be completed by May 1998. Thereafter, it is expected that the continuous presence of Agency inspectors in Nyongbyon will be reduced from three to two...