July 11, 2008

South Korean Official Says Six Parties “Came Close” to Verification Compromise

Text of report in English by South Korean news agency Yonhap

BEIJING, July 11 (Yonhap) - North Korea and its dialogue partners here came close to a compromise Friday on how to check the authenticity of the secretive nation's recent account of its plutonium inventory, a South Korean official said.

Establishing a verification protocol is a key agenda at the six- way talks aimed at ridding North Korea of its nuclear programme. The negotiations also involving the US, China, Russia and Japan opened on Thursday for the first time in nine months.

"The related nations came close to an agreement on guidelines for a verification and monitoring mechanism at the meeting of heads of delegations," the official told reporters. "They appear ready to hold a denuclearization working-group meeting, for which the schedule has not been set yet."

He said the chief nuclear envoys from the six nations also began discussions on another topic - when and how to complete the slow- going energy aid for North Korea under a six-party deal signed last year.

Originally published by Yonhap news agency, Seoul, in English 0835 11 Jul 08.

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