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Libya Cooperating in Weapons Inspections, says UN Official - 2003-12-29

The head of the United Nations nuclear agency says Libya is being very cooperative in the early stages of nuclear weapons inspections.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters in Tripoli Monday that Libya says it will act as if it has already signed an international agreement to allow unannounced inspections.

U.N. inspectors Sunday visited four previously uninspected nuclear sites around Tripoli and held technical talks with the head of Libya's nuclear weapons program.

Mr. ElBaradei says they saw equipment that could have been used in a uranium enrichment program for atomic weapons, but was not in operation. He said centrifuges were dismantled and boxed up.

The IAEA chief and a team of nuclear experts arrived in Tripoli on Saturday, little more than a week after Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi acknowledged the country had a secret nuclear weapons program and announced his intention to end the program and allow snap inspections. Mr. ElBaradei heads back to his headquarters in Vienna today, but a team of inspectors will remain in Libya for several days.

Mr. ElBaradei said Saturday he does not believe Libya was close to producing a nuclear weapon.