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North Korea invites IAEA inspectors for talks

world Updated: Jun 16, 2007 22:30 IST

IANS
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North Korea has invited International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors for talks on the dismantling of its controversial nuclear programme, reports said on Saturday.

An invitation to the IAEA working group had been issued as the release of money from previously frozen North Korean accounts at a Macau-based bank had entered the "final phase", North Korean official news agency KCNA reported.

More than $20 million reportedly reached the New York branch of the United States Federal Reserve on Friday from the Macau-based Banco Delta Asia. The money is to be deposited in North Korean accounts at a Russian commercial bank.

The US froze the money after linking it to money laundering, counterfeiting and drug trafficking.

The transfer of the frozen assets would remove a hurdle to the implementation of a six-nation February agreement in which Pyongyang agreed to shut down its main nuclear reactor. Part of the agreement was the invitation to the IAEA with which North Korea broke off cooperation in 2002.