U.N. nuclear meeting presses North Korea to give up atomic work

VIENNA Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:21pm BST

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VIENNA (Reuters) - Member states of the U.N. atomic agency passed a resolution by consensus on Friday that "strongly urged" North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme, underlining Pyongyang's international isolation.

The text adopted without a vote by the General Conference of the 155-nation International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also called on North Korea, which is not a member of the Vienna-based U.N. agency, not to carry out a new nuclear test.

The IAEA conference "stresses its desire for a diplomatic resolution of the (North Korea) nuclear issue so as to achieve the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula," it said.

It "reaffirms that (North Korea) cannot have the status of a nuclear-weapon state" under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the 1970 pact designed to prevent the spread of atomic arms. Similar resolutions have been adopted before.

North Korea says it needs nuclear power to provide electricity, but has also boasted of its nuclear deterrence capability and has traded nuclear technology with Syria, Libya and probably Myanmar and Pakistan.

It was earlier this year believed to be pushing ahead with plans for a third nuclear test, after carrying out detonations in 2006 and 2009. {ID:nL4E8JO284]

It became the first country to withdraw from the NPT in 2003 and has denied the IAEA access to its atomic sites, reneging on a February deal to do so after it announced plans to launch a long-range rocket, in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

U.S. envoy Robert Wood said the IAEA resolution "sent a clear message that the international community continues to hold North Korea to its denuclearization obligations and commitments."

"North Korea must immediately cease all nuclear activities," Wood told the assembly. "North Korea must allow the IAEA to establish a long-term presence to monitor and verify the cessation and abandonment of these activities."

(Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Andrew Roche)

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