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IAEA Delegation Begins N. Korea Inspections
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An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delegation headed for Yongbyon today to visit the North Korean nuclear facilities.

"We are going to see the facilities and continue our discussion in more details," said Olli Heinonen , head of the delegation and IAEA deputy director general.

The four-member delegation, which arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday, will return to the North Korean capital on Friday, according to Heinonen.

Heinonen Tuesday spoke about his optimism after talks with his North Korean counterpart.
"We are going to negotiate arrangement for ratification of shutting down and sealing Yongbyon facilities with North Korea during the three-day visit," he said, at the airport.

This visit by the UN watchdog is the first since IAEA nuclear inspectors were cast out in 2002 after North Korea pulled out from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The delegation arrived in the country at the behest of North Korean authorities after a long-standing frozen fund dispute between the United States and North Korea was resolve on Monday.

Under a February agreement, North Korea pledged to shut down the Yongbyon reactor within 60 days in exchange of 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil or equivalent aid. However, this timeline was shot when North Korea insisted it retrieve the US$25 million frozen at the Banco Delta Asia in Macao before the Yongbyon nuclear reactor is shut down and new negotiations are started.

(Xinhua News Agency June 28, 2007)

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