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Mechanism Mulled To Implement Nuclear Accord With North Korea: US

A North Korean bomb factory. Digital Globe Image

Washington (AFP) Nov 02, 2005
A mechanism is being considered for implementation of a complex US-led accord with North Korea under which the Stalinist state has to abandon its nuclear weapons in return for aid and other benefits.

It could comprise "working groups" looking into details on how North Korea could dismantle its nuclear weapons arsenal in return for security guarantees, diplomatic recognition and energy and economic aid, a State Department official said.

"That's what we are going to be looking at ... the process of how do we move forward, what process do we put in place so that we can move the process forward smartly and to resolve the issues that are out there," Joseph DeTrani, the special envoy to the six-party talks, told reporters Wednesday in Washington.

"If we break into working groups, we will be getting into those issues," he said, citing denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, normalization of ties with Pyongyang, and energy and economic assistance to North Korea as among the core subjects to be tackled.

In the previous round of the six-way talks among the United States, the two Koreas, China, Japan and Russia, a joint statement was adopted in which North Korea pledged to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

But the North later warned it would not dismantle its nuclear arsenal until the United States supplied it with a light-water atomic reactor to generate electricity.

The United States insists the five parties negotiating with North Korea agreed that Pyongyang must first disarm before any civilian nuclear program was discussed.

DeTrani said that at the next round of the China-hosted talks scheduled this month, "we are looking at a roadmap that will lead us to address all the issues -- denuclearization, normalization of ties, the energy, economic assistance -- and a process that will permit us to have forward movement again."

Implementation of the accord would be based on a step-by-step approach that would see North Korea getting aid and other benefits as it dismantles its nuclear arms program.

It would be "actions for actions so that we can get the ultimate goal of denuclearization," he said.

Japanese news reports have said a "peace mechanism" could also be set up under the six-party talks for a new permanent peace treaty to replace a pact that ended fighting in the Korean War in 1953.

The two Koreas are still technically at war.

The US government wants Japan and Russia, which are not directly involved in the war, to be involved in talks to craft the new peace accord, according to the reports.

Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il pledged to return to the six-nation talks when he received Chinese President Hu Jintao on a three-day visit to the Stalinist state.

Hu's trip coupled with negotiations on the sidelines between the United States and South Korea gave additional push towards resolving the crisis, DeTrani said, without elaborating.

"All indications are that the DPRK (North Korea) is prepared to move forward and indeed we all -- the five countries -- are prepared to move forward. The time is right to move forward in a very smart way," DeTrani said.

The nuclear crisis flared up in October 2002 after the United States accused North Korea of running a secret uranium-enrichment program.

Asked what was the benchmark for progress in the next round of talks, DeTrani said: "We have a process in motion, we all recognise what the issues are, set some timelines, and we adhere to them and implement them accordingly." pp/lt

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UN Inspectors Visit Sensitive Iranian Military Site
Vienna (AFP) Nov 02, 2005
Iran has allowed UN nuclear inspectors to visit the sensitive military site of Parchin, UN officials said Wednesday, but diplomats said it was also continuing fuel work at another site that has raised concerns of a covert atomic weapons program.

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