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North Korea Confirms Return To Six-Party Talks

(RFE/RL) November 1, 2006 -- North Korea has confirmed that it plans to return to six-country talks aimed at resolving the crisis over its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea's official news agency quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying Pyongyang decided to return to the talks on the premise that the North and the United States will settle the issue of U.S. financial sanctions on North Korea during the negotiations.

North Korea has boycotted the six-party talks for a year due to the U.S. sanctions, which are aimed at blocking North Korea's access to foreign banks.

President George W. Bush has welcomed the announcement that North Korea would return to talks, but said the United States would continue to seek enforcement of UN sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear test three weeks ago. Bush said the United States continues to demand that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons.

Japan today said it would maintain its sanctions on North Korea until it commits to quitting its nuclear programs.

(compiled from agency reports)