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IAEA Wants More Information about Libya's Nuclear Suppliers  - 2004-08-30


The International Atomic Energy Agency has released a report praising Libya for its cooperation in reporting on its discontinued secret atomic-weapons program. The agency says it needs more information on the suppliers of nuclear equipment.

IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming says the seven-page report was prepared by the head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, in advance of a 35-member board meeting in Vienna next month.

"He has been working intensively with officials associated with the nuclear weapons program, to primarily determine the origins of its nuclear weapon program, which was based, which was all imported from abroad, from the nuclear black market," she said.

Tripoli kept its nuclear weapons program secret from the world for years, but late last year, declared it would abandon its ambitions and open facilities to international inspectors.

Centrifuge parts and enrichment processing equipment were removed from Libya and taken to the United States, where the IAEA is making a full inventory.

The IAEA investigations are probing the global black market network headed by top Pakistani scientist Abdul Quadeer Khan.

The IAEA says several countries are co-operating with the agency, but progress is slow. It wants Libya to provide additional documents on nuclear material imported, and says it needs information on the supplier of weapons design.

The agency generally praised Libya's co-operation with inspectors, and confirmed that much information provided is consistent. But the IAEA says results of some sampling are still being analyzed. It is investigating the sources of contamination on centrifuges, and says it needs to take independent samples in the country of origin.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said in its report that centrifuge drawings from Libya show similarities with components found by inspectors in Iran.

The agency's board of governors will meet in mid-September to discuss Iran's nuclear energy activities suspected by Washington of providing a cover for a secret nuclear weapons program. Tehran has denied it has plans to develop atomic weapons.

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