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Press Availability After Talks with Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency

Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Vienna International Center
Vienna, Austria
July 25, 2008

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: I was here six or seven months ago, and the purpose was to brief the Director-General on the developments from the process of the denuclearization of North Korea. Obviously, in the intervening months, we have made some progress, especially with the ongoing disablement of the Yongbyon facility and most recently with the submission of a declaration.

I spoke to the DG about the current stage, which is -- The fact is that we are trying to assure him we have a protocol for verification that will enable us to verify the elements of the declaration and to continue to move forward. I mentioned to the DG we have a long way to go. We don’t have yet an agreement on how to turn over the weapons. Obviously the weapons stage we want to get to very soon. So there’s a lot to be done. But as we go forward, we want to continue to work closely and cooperate with the IAEA in that process.

QUESTION: The DPRK is seemingly not happy to see the IAEA involved in the verification. Do you think that IAEA involvement is a necessary involvement?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: Let me just say the IAEA is already involved in the process. Today there are IAEA monitors who are in Yongbyon, as we speak today. In Vienna they’ve worked very closely -- not only with us, but also with the DPRK. There was a statement from the six parties last week in Beijing, and the IAEA will continue to have a role. We’ll have to figure out what that role is. And that will certainly be determined as we negotiate this verification protocol.

I’ll make very clear, though, that we need real verification. We need a protocol that will really do the job in making sure that what they said in their declaration is correct. So the IAEA has a lot of experience in this regard. And I think that we would all look forward to drawing on that experience.

QUESTION: There are some obstructions within the IAEA related to budget issues. Has the IAEA the necessary means to fulfill its missions?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY HILL: From my vantage point, the IAEA is involved in a significant way, and I’m sure that will be the case. I’m not sure I can answer your question on the IAEA budgeting. I know some countries have really come forward on that, including the European Union, which everyone pretty much appreciates. The U.S. has engaged -- we have put together some budgeting of our own to deal with this disablement phase. And I’m sure we’ll be getting more as we get to the dismantlement phase. But again, this will be clear as we complete this verification protocol and what the parameters of that protocol are.


Released on July 25, 2008

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