IAEA inspectors leave North Korea

April 16th, 2009 - 6:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Vienna, April 16 (DPA) The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced its inspectors left North Korea Thursday, after Pyongyang reacted to a UN Security Council condemnation by telling them to return to Vienna.
The arrival of the four nuclear experts in Beijing marked the end of a 19-month period in which the IAEA observed that North Korea’s nuclear facilities remain turned off, as agreed in a six-party deal that includes the US.

Before leaving, the inspectors were forced to remove all seals and to switch off cameras installed by the nuclear agency in North Korea’s nuclear centre in Yongbyon.

Following the UN Security Council’s condemnation of North Korea’s recent rocket launch, Pyongyang said it would no longer participate in the six-party talks that also involve the US, Russia, China, South Korea and Japan.

On Tuesday, Pyongyang told the IAEA that it would restart all facilities in Yongbyon, including a reactor, and that it wanted the inspectors to leave.

The reclusive communist state agreed in 2005 with the other five governments to abandon its nuclear weapons programme in return for humanitarian aid.

North Korea has taken a step toward further isolation and would have to face consequences, US State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Wednesday.

An additional team of US experts who are in Yongbyon to verify the disablement of the country’s nuclear programme was making plans to leave at Pyongyang’s request, Wood said.

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