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UN near accord on NKorea sanctions draft ruling out use of force

Agence France Presse

October 13, 2006

The new text, drafted by council experts late Thursday after envoys of UN powers resolved some of the key outstanding issues, invokes Article 41 of the UN Charter, which authorizes sanctions not involving the use of force, such as economic and diplomatic sanctions.

This was a key concession to veto-wielding China, North Korea's closest ally and its biggest provider of aid, which insisted on including Article 41.

The text, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, "condemns" last Monday's announced nuclear test in defiance of a Security Council resolution, "acting under Chapter Seven of the Charter of the United Nations, and taking measures under its Article 41".

"I don't want to say we've reached agreement yet, but many of the significant differences have been closed, very much to our satisfaction," US Ambassador John Bolton told reporters Thursday after attending a private meeting of envoys of six major UN powers at France's UN mission in New York.

He said the council's 15 members would relay the new text to their respective capitals for clearance ahead of a vote expected by week's end.

"We've made really good progress. We are going to have informal consultations tomorrow (Friday)," said Japanese UN ambassador Kenzo Oshima, the council president for October. "If we are lucky, we (will be) ready for a vote, most likely Saturday."

The draft, essentially based on US proposals, calls for wide-ranging economic, military and financial sanctions, particularly targeting North Korea's nuclear, ballistic missile and other weapons of mass destruction program.

It drops a blanket arms embargo in an earlier draft and instead calls for a ban targeting missiles, tanks, warships and combat aircraft.

It demands that Pyongyang scrap all of its programs involving nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missiles "in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner."

It also calls on Pyongyang to return immediately to six-party nuclear disarmament talks "without precondition" and provides for a travel ban on senior North Korean officials involved in the nuclear, ballistic missile and other WMD-related programs.

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