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US urges North Korea to dismantle nuke facilities

world Updated: Apr 16, 2007 09:23 IST
US urges North Korea to dismantle nuke facilities

The United States urged North Korea to move forward with an agreement to begin dismantling key nuclear facilities after a deadline passed on Saturday with no sign of movement from Pyongyang.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said on Saturday, it remains up to North Korea to fulfil its commitment to close its Yongbyon nuclear facility.

"This would enable the other parties to follow through with the provision of emergency energy assistance equivalent to 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil and move the six-party process forward to the next phase of implementing the September 2005 Joint Statement," McCormack said.

North Korea agreed to shut down its Yongbyon reactor site in a February 13 agreement produced by six party talks that gave Pyongyang 60 days to close the facility, but progress has been stalled because of a dispute over frozen North Korean bank accounts in Macau.

The United States, which placed sanctions on Banco Delta Asia in September 2005 because of suspicious North Korean bank accounts, agreed to the release of all $25 million earlier this week.

North Korea wants all of the money returned before it closes Yongbyon and said Friday it would hold to its commitments and would fulfil the February agreement when the release of the money was confirmed.

McCormack said the US acknowledged Pyongyang's statement, adding, "It is time now for the DPRK to make its move so that all of us can move forward."

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