UNITED NATIONS, May 3: The chief of UN nuclear watchdog on Monday urged the inclusion of Israel, India and Pakistan — the three nations who are not a party to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — in talks on nuclear disarmament . Nuclear disarmament can only succeed if it is universal,” Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said at the opening session of the 2005 Review Conference of the states parties to the NPT.

Although Mr ElBaradei has proposed the involvement of these three states not party to the NPT in disarmament discussions at earlier events also, it is the first time he has done so before a high-level global conference.

NORTH KOREA: The IAEA head also urged North Korea to return to the negotiating table to resolve the crisis surrounding the reclusive communist state’s nuclear weapons programme.

“The earlier the parties go back to the negotiating table the better,” Mr ElBaradei said on the sidelines of a global nuclear disarmament conference.

Six-party talks involving the United States, North and South Korea, China, Japan and Russia on Pyongyang’s nuclear programme have been stalled for almost a year, and recent efforts to restart them have shown little progress.

“There is no other solution except all of the parties put all their grievances together on the table and get a ... solution that addresses Korean security and economic needs and addresses this whole nuclear programme,” Mr ElBaradei said.

North Korea said explicitly for the first time in February that it had nuclear weapons, ratcheting up a crisis that began in October 2002 over what Washington said was its enrichment of uranium that could be used to make weapons.

MORATORIUM ON NEW FUEL CYCLE: Mr ElBaradei also renewed his call for a moratorium on new fuel-cycle facilities while international controls are negotiated.

The “choke point” to preventing nuclear weapons development is ensuring effective control over activities involving uranium enrichment and plutonium separation, he stressed.

“Without question, improving control of facilities capable of producing weapons-usable material will go a long way towards establishing a better margin of security.”

Stressing the importance of balancing both development and security interests, Mr ElBaradei said: “We should be clear: there is no incompatibility between tightening controls over the nuclear fuel cycle and expanding the use of peaceful nuclear technology. In fact, by reducing the risks of proliferation, we could pave the way for more widespread use of peaceful nuclear applications.”

Mr ElBaradei said the core of the accord can be summed up in two words: security and development. And while the custodians of the NPT may hold differing priorities and views, “I trust that all share these two goals: development for all through advanced technology; and security for all by reducing –- and ultimately eliminating –- the nuclear threat,” he said. “If we cannot work together, each acknowledging the development priorities and security concerns of the other, then the result of this conference will be inaction.”

He urged the meeting to strengthen the IAEA’s verification authority, noting that in recent years, the additional protocol to comprehensive safeguards agreements has proven its worth. “With better access to information and locations, we get better results,” he said.

The 188 signatories of the NPT are meeting this month to discuss ways of strengthening the 1970 pact aimed at stopping the spread of atomic weapons. Numerous foreign ministers who spoke at the opening session of the NPT review conference on Monday criticized North Korea and called on it to return to the six-party talks.