NKorea says has date for removal from terrorism list

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BEIJING, Oct 2 (Reuters) A draft agreement reached at North Korean disarmament talks sets a timeframe for taking the country off a US terrorism blacklist, the North's chief negotiator said today, but he declined to be more specific.

Kim Kye-gwan, when asked whether the deal sets a date for getting off the list, said: ''You'll know when you see the agreement, but the timing is specified.'' He was speaking to journalists at Beijing airport, on his way back to Pyongyang.

However the South Korean envoy to the talks, Chun Yung-woo, said although the document contained references to the end of the year, it did not offer a clear-cut schedule for taking North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

''It's laid out so that it looks that way to North Korean eyes,'' he told journalists in Seoul.

Removing North Korea from the list is one of the inducements promised to the country under a breakthrough February deal that has seen Pyongyang shut down and seal its main nuclear reactor and admit UN nuclear inspectors into the facilities.

Diplomatic sources had earlier said that the US side rejected including a specific timeframe in the document.

The latest round of six-party talks, which involve the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, Russia and host China, aimed to set out targets for North Korea to disable its nuclear facilities and make a complete declaration of all its nuclear programmes.

In return, the impoverished communist state, which tested a nuclear device last year, will receive a massive injection of fuel aid and steps towards bringing it out of diplomatic isolation.

The talks ended on Sunday, with parties going back to their capitals to discuss a joint draft statement, with details expected to be made public this week, when all sides have signed off on it.

Reuters SZ DB1259

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