1. N.Korea Vows 'Concrete' Steps if U.S. Drops Terror Link
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North Korea called on the United States on Tuesday to scrap a strict trade ban and drop it from a list of countries Washington says sponsor terrorism, promising steps in retun that would improve ties between the adversaries. Jong Song-il, a spokesman for North Korea's delegation at an East Asian security meeting in Manila, told reporters Pyongyang had been 'very active' in implementing its obligations under agreements reached during six-party talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear programmes, and others should reciprocate.
'It is very important also the other parties of the six-party talks, I mean the other five parties, should do their obligation ... On the part of the United States, for example, delisting the DPRK from the list of the terrorist-supporting states and also removal of the enemy trade act,' he said, speaking in English.
'At the same time we will come out with more concrete actions in the normalisation of the bilateral relationship between DPRK and the United States.'
Pyongyang and Washington do not have diplomatic relations and the U.S. government bans trade with North Korea under the Trading With the Enemy Act. North Korea, officially called the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is keen to establish formal ties with the United States.
After years of diplomatic manoeuvring, North Korea shut down its Yongbyon nuclear reactor earlier this month, keeping its side of a February six-party deal which promised it energy aid.
It also invited back U.N. nuclear watchdog personnel to for the first time since late 2002 when Pyongyang threw them out of the country after a 1994 disarmament deal collapsed.
The next step of the latest disarmament deal, hammered out between the six parties ï¿½ North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States ï¿½ calls on Pyongyang to 'disable' its nuclear facilities and provide a full accounting of its nuclear weapons programmes.
Talks between the countries this month failed to produce a deadline for those steps. All six parties are in Manila for the security meeting this week, but no substantive talks between them are planned. Several sets of working-level talks will be held in August and more senior officials will meet in September.
1. India, U.S. Nuclear Accord May Harm Stability, Pakistan Says
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India's nuclear energy agreement with the U.S. will have implications for stability in South Asia as it may lead to weapons production from unsupervised plants, Pakistan's government said.
Maintaining a strategic balance in the region ``would have been better served if the United States had considered a package approach for Pakistan and India,'' the National Command Authority, a body that includes President Pervez Musharraf, said yesterday in a statement, according to the official Associated Press of Pakistan.
India and the U.S. completed their accord last month to develop nuclear energy cooperation. India and Pakistan's civilian and military nuclear programs remain outside the 1970 United Nations Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which they haven't signed.
India and Pakistan tested nuclear devices in 1998. They have improved relations since 2003, restoring diplomatic, sporting and transportation links and improving cooperation on trade, combating terrorism and fighting drug trafficking.
Pakistan will ``act with responsibility'' in maintaining its nuclear arms program and will avoid an arms race, the National Command Authority said, according to APP.
The country will continue to work with the international community on efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, it said. The body consists of government, military and civilian leaders, including scientists, APP said.
``Pakistan will neither be oblivious to its security requirements, nor to the needs of its economic development, which demands growth in the energy sector,'' it said.
Pakistan's government estimates the energy needs of South Asia's second biggest economy after India will more than double to 177 million metric tons of oil equivalent by 2020. India's atomic power now accounts for about 3 percent of its total electricity production.
Under the India-U.S. agreement, reprocessing of spent atomic fuel will be under the safeguards of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
India still has to reach an agreement with the IAEA for inspections of the reprocessing plant and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 45-nation forum dedicated to limiting the spread of atomic weapons, must approve the agreement. After that, President George W. Bush will submit the accord to Congress for approval, attempting to overcome concerns among lawmakers that India's nuclear weapons program would benefit.
The U.S. Congress in December passed legislation to allow the agreement to go forward. The bill reversed decades of U.S. policy that barred nuclear exports to India after it carried out its first nuclear bomb test in 1974. Pakistan's first test of a nuclear weapon was in May 1998.
2. India, US Release Text of Landmark Nuclear Deal
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India and the United States spelled out Friday how they plan to share atomic fuel and technology under a pact that reverses a three-decade American ban on civilian nuclear trade with New Delhi.
Much of what is in the text of the so-called 1-2-3 agreement released Friday has already been disclosed by officials in New Delhi and Washington, who last week announced they had finalized the technical agreement and were only waiting to brief lawmakers before unveiling it.
Since the broad nuclear deal was first announced in July 2005 it has been touted as cornerstone of an emerging partnership between India and the United States after decades on opposite sides of the Cold War divide.
But it has also elicited criticism from Americans who worried it would stymie U.S. anti-proliferation efforts, especially in Iran, and from Indians who said it would undermine the country's cherished weapons program and sovereignty.
The text released Friday was sure to quiet most of the few remaining Indian critics ï¿½ New Delhi got nearly everything it wanted, including the right to stockpile fuel and the right to reprocess fuel, a key step in making atomic weapons. However, reprocessing is to take place at a facility safeguarded by U.N. inspectors to prevent it from being used in bombs.
How the deal plays with American critics is a different story ï¿½ Friday's text makes no mention of what happens in the event of an Indian weapons test.
But it does allow for either party to terminate the agreement with one year's written notice, language that C. Uday Bhaskar of New Delhi's Institute for Defence Studies, said "respects the distinctive concerns that on nuclear issues that both sides."
"It's a very fine balance ï¿½ in essence, India retains the right to test and the U.S. has the right to respond," he said. "There's no direct reference to a test. But the allusion is there. It allows a positive interpretation for both sides."
The text urges both sides to carefully consider where "the circumstances that may lead to the termination" of the deal were the result of "a changed security environment or as a response to similar actions by other states."
That clause is being widely interpreted in New Delhi as meaning that Washington would have to consider whether India tested a weapon in response to a test by either Pakistan or China, its two biggest rivals.
The text also states that if the fuel supply from the United States is cut off for any reason ï¿½ an Indian test presumably among them ï¿½ that Washington would help find third countries to supply New Delhi's reactors. It suggests the material could come from Britain, Russia or France.
The deal, which has a duration of 40 years with the possibility of extending it for another 10 years, allows the United States to ship nuclear fuel and technology to India, which in exchange would open its civilian nuclear reactors to international inspectors. India's military reactors would remain off-limits.
Indian and U.S. lawmakers now need to approve the deal. India also needs to make separate agreements with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, an assembly of nations that export nuclear material.
1. EurAsEC Council on Nuclear Energy Cooperation Hold First Meeting
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The first meeting of the recently founded Council of Eurasian Economic Cooperation Community (EurAsEC) on cooperation in the nuclear energy sector finished in Angarsk on Friday.
The councilï¿½s members from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan attended the meeting.
The Russian Federal Agency for Nuclear Energyï¿½s deputy director Nikolai Spassky was elected its chairman and the chief of Kazakhstan Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resourcesï¿½ nuclear energy department, Tomur Zhantikln was appointed deputy chairman. The council has founded its rules of procedure and a work plan for 2007-08.
It also reviewed proposal for cooperation in specific areas of mutual interest, in particular the training of personnel for work in the nuclear energy sector.
The council also heard information about the establishment of an international center for uranium enrichment at the Angarsk chemical electrolysis plant.
The participants in the meeting visited the plant.
ï¿½We expect much from the work of the council,ï¿½ Spassky told reporters.
ï¿½In final analysis, it is all about the integration of nuclear sectors of Russia and our nearest partners, including the EurAsEC states, for peaceful purposes. This task is dictated by the life, and similar tendencies of amalgamation and globalization of the nuclear sector are occurring in the whole world. So there is the hope that the councilï¿½s work will help development of the processes that are already occurring in the CIS space,ï¿½ Spassky said.
Libya adopted a United Nations nuclear terrorism convention obliging governments to hunt down and punish those who unlawfully possess atomic devices, official news agency Jana said yesterday.
Libya's General People's Committee agreed to the convention designed to eliminate unlawful possession of nuclear devices and materials by non-state actors.
The accord, approved by the UN General Assembly in 2005, requires governments to criminalise and investigate offences related to nuclear terrorism, share information and transfer detainees to help investigations and prosecutions abroad.
"The committee explained that the agreement is compatible with the aspirations of the Great Jamahiriya (Libya) following its historic initiative by voluntarily eliminating programmes and equipment that could lead to the production of internationally banned weapons," Jana said.
Libya took a new step towards normal relations with the West last week when it allowed six foreign medics to leave the country after eight years in prison on charges of infecting hundreds of children with HIV at a Libyan hospital.
The North African country emerged from decades of isolation in 2003 when it agreed to scrap a prohibited weapons programme and pay compensation for the bombing of a US airliner over Scotland in 1988 in which 270 people were killed.
Earlier this month, the United States announced it was sending its first ambassador to Tripoli in nearly 35 years.
Also, France signed an accord on providing Libya with a nuclear reactor for water desalination. The accord paves the way for broader cooperation on atomic energy, according to details of the deal released yesterday.
Entitled "Memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of peaceful applications of nuclear energy," the document signed during President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to Libya last week outlines three goals:
"To deepen and develop cooperation between both countries on the peaceful uses of atomic energy in the mutual interest of both parties."
"To encourage the institutions and industrial companies of both countries to undertake joint projects."
"To authorise the institutions and industrial companies of both countries to work together with a view to carrying out nuclear energy production and water desalination, as well as other development projects linked to the peaceful use of atomic energy."
France and Libya express their "will to increase and encourage their cooperation in the field of nuclear plants for the production of energy and water desalination," the text says.
Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told a parliamentary committee "Remember that this is for desalinating sea water, not for making war, and that it would be completely controlled" by the UN's atomic watchdog, "if it goes ahead, and it is not certain that it will."
German officials have blasted the deal as "reckless" and a potential blow to nuclear non-proliferation efforts as well as the European Union's aim to pursue better coordinated foreign policy.
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