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Bush accepts tentative nuke deal with NKorea: White House

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) April 14, 2008
President George W. Bush accepts a tentative deal reached by US and North Korean negotiators which is aimed at breaking a deadlock in nuclear disarmament talks, the White House said Monday.

"I believe so, yes," spokeswoman Dana Perino said, when asked if Bush approved of the agreement in Singapore last week between Christopher Hill and his counterpart Kim Kye-Gwan.

The talks aimed to resolve differences over the communist North's nuclear declaration, which was promised by the end of last year under a six-nation agreement.

The US says it should clear up suspicions about an alleged secret uranium enrichment programme and about suspected nuclear proliferation to Syria. The North denies both charges.

Hill refused to reveal any details of the Singapore talks but said the two sides "definitely made progress."

Numerous media reports say that under a pending deal, the North would "acknowledge" concerns about uranium and proliferation in a secret side-agreement with the US.

The main declaration, to be delivered to six-party talks host China, would refer only to the acknowledged plutonium-based weapons operation.

Perino said Monday that Hill had "good meetings" last week but that the US is still waiting for a "complete and accurate declaration."

Under the deal the US would start the process of removing North Korea from its list of terrorism-sponsoring states in return for a satisfactory declaration and for the disablement of Pyongyang's main plutonium-producing plants.

Perino said the removal is part of the package, "but things happen in sequence, and so it is way premature to suggest that that's going to happen anytime soon."

A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said last week the Singapore meeting produced an agreement on its declaration and also on "political compensation" from Washington, an apparent reference to the terrorism listing.

The six-party talks which began in 2003 group the US, the two Koreas, China, Japan and Russia.

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NKorea, US 'significantly narrowed' nuke differences: SKorea
Seoul (AFP) April 14, 2008
North Korea and the United States have "significantly narrowed" differences blocking progress on a nuclear disarmament deal, South Korea's foreign minister said Monday.

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