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IAEA Chief to Hold Talks in Libya - 2003-12-22

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says he will visit Libya next week to discuss Tripoli's intention to destroy its nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

U.N. nuclear control agency chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, says he will visit Tripoli as early as next week to discuss Libya's compliance with nuclear non-proliferation rules.

Libya said Saturday it will sign the additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which gives the IAEA greater authority to carry out thorough and unannounced inspections of undeclared nuclear facilities.

Mr. ElBaradei said his visit, as he put it, would kick-start the process of verification of Libya's nuclear activities. He indicated that the agency's inspectors could start work on the ground in Libya by the end of the month.

He said he was informing the 35-member IAEA board of governors about Libya's undeclared nuclear activities, including a uranium-enrichment program that could be used for military purposes. Western diplomats have said Libya was close to developing a nuclear bomb.