IAEA assembly urges N.Korea return to atom shutdow

Reuters
04 Ekim 2008 - 13:02Son Güncelleme : 04 Ekim 2008 - 13:00

The 145-nation assembly of the U.N. nuclear watchdog passed a resolution on Saturday urging North Korea not to renege on a nuclear disarmament pact.

The motion was adopted by consensus a day after a U.S. envoy ended a trip to Pyongyang meant to salvage the collapsing deal, calling the talks substantive but declining to say if he swayed North Korea to give up plans to restart its nuclear complex.

The resolution passed at the annual General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency underlined the need for a diplomatic solution that achieves denuclearization of the Korean peninsula verifiable by IAEA inspectors.

It also stressed "the importance of an early resumption of (nuclear) disablement and of working to complete disablement and other parallel actions" as agreed by Pyongyang with the United States, Russia, China, South Korea and Japan.

In debate on the resolution, China's envoy said denuclearization "has met with difficulties" but said the process could be salvaged if "all parties meet each other halfway" and they should redouble efforts to that end.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill was in Pyongyang for three days focusing on the crux of the breakdown in the process -- a deal that would allow inspectors into North Korea to check claims it made about its nuclear programme in exchange for an end to diplomatic and trade sanctions.

"I don't want to talk about progress. I don't want to say I am satisfied," Hill told reporters in Seoul.

U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said North Korea did not seem to halt efforts to restart its Yongbyon nuclear plant during Hill's visit.

The nuclear agreement North Korea struck with the United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea in February 2007 was put in peril after Pyongyang vowed last month to rebuild the aging Yongbyon plant, its source for weapons-grade plutonium, in anger at not being removed from a U.S. terrorism blacklist.

Washington said it would take the North off the terrorism list, bringing economic and diplomatic benefits, once a system had been agreed to verify Pyongyang's nuclear claims.

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