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North Korea Says It Will Sign Anti-Terror Treaty

November 04, 2001|From Associated Press

SEOUL — North Korea, eager to get off the U.S. list of states sponsoring terrorism, said Saturday that it will sign a United Nations treaty designed to block financing of terrorism.

North Korea decided to ratify the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism to show "we have made every possible effort to combat worldwide terrorism," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

North Korea also decided to sign a 1979 international convention against hostage-taking.

The spokesman did not say when North Korea will sign the treaties. European Union officials who visited North Korea last week have said it could ratify the 1999 treaty as early as next month.

The spokesman's remarks were carried by the North's official news agency, KCNA, which did not identify him by name. KCNA was monitored in Seoul.

The 1999 treaty has taken on new significance since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It requires member countries to prosecute or extradite people accused of financing terrorism. It also calls for strengthening banking measures to detect suspicious transactions.

So far, only four countries have ratified the treaty, which must have 22 signatories to take effect.

North Korea, a longtime adversary of the United States, has called the attacks "very regrettable and tragic." It also has urged the United States to restrain its strikes against Afghanistan.

The State Department listed North Korea as a sponsor of terrorism in 1988, alleging that the country was involved in the 1987 bombing of a South Korean airliner. All 115 people aboard the flight died.

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