US, North Korean nuclear envoys to meet in Geneva this week

11th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

US and North Korean negotiators plan to meet this week in Geneva to try to break a deadlock in their nuclear talks, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Tuesday.

Seoul - US and North Korean negotiators plan to meet this week in Geneva to try to break a deadlock in their nuclear talks, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Tuesday.

Chief North Korean negotiator Kim Kye Gwan was to meet his US counterpart, Christopher Hill, in the Swiss city during Hill's stay there Thursday and Friday, Yonhap said, citing sources in Washington who requested anonymity.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the meeting.

One of the sources told the news agency that the atmosphere for the talks was upbeat. Kim's agreement to travel to Geneva "indicates there may be progress this time," another source was quoted as saying.

Hill and Kim last met in February in Beijing. No progress was reported at that meeting.

The nuclear talks that the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia are conducting with North Korea with an aim to end its nuclear programmes have been deadlocked over Pyongyang's promise to provide a declaration of its nuclear activities, materials and facilities by the end of 2007.

Washington has said Pyongyang failed to fulfil its promise to provide a complete declaration, insisting that it has an enriched uranium programme, which North Korea denies. Highly enriched uranium can be used to produce nuclear weapons.

Impoverished North Korea agreed to make the declaration and disable its main nuclear facility by the end of last year in exchange for energy and economic aid.

[Copyright dpa 2008]

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