Washington, Oct. 10 : The United States Government has announced that it is considering removing North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
According to a Fox News report, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice could announce the decision as early as Friday.
It quoted State Department sources as saying that there is a potential deal under which the U.S. would de-list North Korea.
The deal would require North Korea to agree to verification protocols.
Sources told FOX News that it was a direct result of North Korea's decision to allow U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill recently to inspect its nuclear facilities, including the Yongbyon plant.
Removing North Korea from the terror list would be a major step in mending relations between the reclusive communist nation and the United States, though it also would come amid concerns about North Korea's weapons program.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said that in recent days North Korea appeared to have been powering up its nuclear program and testing missiles. American satellite images confirmed reports of short-range missile testing recently.
But Washington said those moves would not mean the death of international efforts to persuade North Korea to recommit to an agreement that offers it diplomatic and economic concessions in exchange for nuclear disarmament.
Some officials, however, have criticized the idea of de-listing North Korea. They have labeled the agreement a "get out of jail free card," as key issues, including reported assistance by North Korea to Syria in establishing a nuclear weapons program, are left unaddressed.
Assistant Secretary of Verification and Compliance and Implementation Paula de Sutter told FOX News that she was disappointed that the Verification Bureau has not been included in any meetings on what Ambassador Hill brought from Pyongyang and not included in any meetings at the NSC.