Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (97)

Dan Neville

Question:

228 Mr. Neville asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will provide an up-to-date report on the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Libya; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25225/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

On 19 December 2003, Libya announced its intention to eliminate all "materials, equipment and programmes which lead to the production of internationally proscribed weapons". In the months since, the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, has been working closely with the Libyan authorities to gain a complete picture of its nuclear programme.

On 10 March 2004, the board of governors of the IAEA adopted a resolution welcoming Libya's voluntary decision and requesting it to provide continuing co-operation and full disclosure. The board also agreed to report past non-compliance to the Security Council for information purposes.

The director general of the agency, Dr. Mohammed El Baradei, delivered his latest report on Libya's nuclear programme at a meeting of the IAEA board of governors in Vienna last month. The agency's assessment was that Libya's declarations on its uranium conversion programme, enrichment programme and other past nuclear-related activities appear to be consistent with the information available to and verified by the agency. The report confirmed that Libya has shown good co-operation with the agency by providing information and prompt access to locations requested. It was noted, however, that there are still some areas related to the acquisition of uranium hexafluoride, uranium conversion technology and enrichment technology that need further investigation. The director general has indicated he will continue to report developments to the board as part of the periodic reporting of the agency's verification activities.

It is important that Libya facilitate the IAEA's continued investigations by providing all necessary information, particularly with respect to the illicit trafficking in nuclear materials and the origins of such materials. Full and close co-operation by all third countries with the agency is also needed in order to clarify the outstanding questions.

Ireland fully supports the work of the IAEA in verifying the dismantlement of the Libyan programme. We welcome Libya's signature and decision to implement an additional protocol and its ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Ireland has also welcomed Libya's accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention and subsequent declaration of its chemical weapons agents. As with the IAEA's verification activities, we are looking forward to Libya's continued co-operation with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, OPCW, with regard to fulfilling its obligations to comply with the requirements of the convention.