North Korea’s nuclear programme remains “a matter of serious concern” and efforts should be made to resume talks on the matter, Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said on Monday.

North Korea has not permitted the Vienna-based watchdog to implement safeguards in the country since December 2002 and no inspectors have been allowed in since April, making it impossible to report to the international community about its atomic activities, Mr. Amano said.

North Korea walked out of international talks on restarting negotiations on its nuclear disarmament last year to protest international criticism of a long-range rocket launch.

“I again call on all parties concerned to make concerted efforts for a resumption of the six-party talks at an appropriate time,” Mr. Amano said.

Mr. Amano, speaking at the start of the IAEA’s General Conference, also mentioned the failure of Iran and Syria to fully comply with his agency.

“My basic approach has been that all safeguards agreements between member states and the agency and other relevant obligations should be implemented fully,” he said.

Others at the opening session were more outspoken.

Paul Magnette of Belgium, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the bloc urges Iran to address the IAEA’s outstanding concerns and to meet with members of the international community “with the ultimate goal of establishing a comprehensive relationship.”

The bloc also “urges Syria to cooperate fully and promptly with the agency,” he said.

The head of Iran’s nuclear program, Ali Akbar Salehi, said the IAEA was suffering from a “moral authority and credibility crisis.”

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