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SEOUL, April 3 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s nuclear envoy on Friday expressed hope that a tentative deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program could pave the way for helping resolve North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
The Iran deal, announced in Lausanne, Switzerland on Thursday, calls for limiting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the U.S. and others lifting sanctions that have stifled the Middle Eastern nation’s economy. Negotiators plan to put the tentative deal in a final agreement by June 30.
Hwang Joon-kook, Seoul’s chief negotiator for the six-party talks aimed at North Korea’s denuclearization, said that despite differences over nuke activities between Pyongyang and Tehran, the Iran deal could have a big implication for the North’s nuclear program.
“I hope that the Iran deal could help create a positive atmosphere in resolving North Korea’s nuclear issue through negotiations such as the six-party talks,” Hwang said.
The six world powers — the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — have held years of the so-called “P5 plus one” negotiations with Iran to restrain Teheran’s nuclear activities.
The deal has received highlight as it could affect the long-running impasse in the North Korean nuclear issue.
But many experts said that the Iran deal is not likely to revive Washington’s interest in resolving North Korea’s nuke standoff as the two cases are different.
They said Iran’s situations are different from those of North Korea, given that Iran has not pulled out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and it has neither conducted nuclear tests nor declared itself as a nuclear state.
“Despite such differences, we hope that North Korea will show sincerity for coming to the negotiation table,” a Seoul official said, requesting anonymity.
The six-party talks on Pyongyang’s nuke program have been dormant since late 2008 as the North left the negotiating table. The six-party talks involve the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.
Except for the North, South Korea and the other four nations to the six-party talks have recently reached a consensus for exploratory talks to gauge the North’s willingness for denuclearization. They have also shared the view for conditions for resuming the long-stalled talks.
Since a nuke test in 2013, North Korea has demanded the unconditional resumption of the six-party talks, but Seoul and Washington have claimed that the North should first show its sincerity toward denuclearization.
North Korea test-fired four short-range missiles into the West Sea on Friday in an apparent saber-rattling against the ongoing Seoul-Washington military exercise, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
The North Korean military “launched four short-range projectiles presumed to have a range of some 140 kilometers into the West Sea in succession between 4:15 p.m. and 5 p.m. today from Dongchang-ri, North Pyongan Province,” the JCS said in a brief statement.
Friday’s launch came after the bellicose regime’s test-firing of a rocket of the same kind the previous day, the JCS added, without further elaboration.
“What the North fired are believed to be KN-02 ground-to-ship missiles, factoring in their range, speed and trajectory,” a JCS officer said on condition of anonymity. “Some of the rockets appear to have landed inland in its own territory, which is not usual.”
Dongchang-ri is where the North’s missile test site is located, though it was not immediately confirmed whether the North fired the rockets Friday from the facility.
Friday’s firing “appears to be the North’s provocations in opposition to the ongoing Seoul-Washington joint military exercise and civic groups’ move to launch anti-Pyongyang leaflets,” the JCS said.
The joint annual Foal Eagle field training exercise between South Korea and the U.S. has been under way since March 2 as part of the allies’ efforts to improve the combined forces’ operation and combat capabilities to deter threats from the communist country. The drill is to run until April 24, with the allies also having staged their joint war game Key Resolve from March 2-13.
Repeating its long-held claims that the exercises are “dress rehearsals” for a northward invasion with nuclear weapons, the North has made good on its threats of harsh retaliation against “hostile” forces.
On the first day of the Seoul-Washington exercises, Pyongyang fired two short-range Scud-C type missiles. Two weeks later, the communist country also test-fired seven ground-to-air missiles into the East Sea.
Dismissing North Korea’s claims, the allies have stressed the exercises have been staged on a regular basis and that they are defensive in nature, aimed solely at bolstering readiness against a possible invasion by North Korea.
The Korea Herald
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April 3, 2015 – 6:43PM
Lausanne – The Court of Arbitration for Sport scrapped sanctions dished out by the Confederation of African Football to Morocco, freeing the North African country to play in the 2017 and 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
CAF hit Morocco’s football federation (FRMF) with the ban and a fine of $US1 million after it decided not to host the 2015 Cup of Nations amid fears over the Ebola crisis.
CAS said it “has upheld the appeal in a large proportion”.
“The sanctions imposed by the CAF on the FRMF have been set aside, with the exception of the fine, which is however reduced to $US50,000 ($A65,000).
CAF had also ordered the Moroccan federation to pay €8 million ($A11.33 million) “for damages caused to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and partners”.
And CAS, the highest appeal court in world sport, said the “question related to the compensation of the possible damage caused by the FRMF to the CAF may still be examined by another jurisdiction”.
The Moroccan federation had called for the 2015 tournament, eventually moved at the last minute to Equatorial Guinea and won by Ivory Coast on February 8, to be delayed as concerns over the potential spread of the Ebola virus grew, and then declined to host it when that delay was not granted.
The African division of global players’ union FIFPro have hit out at African football bosses for their treatment of Morocco.
And Morocco coach Badou Zaki insisted after the verdict that “justice had been done”.
“The law was on our side,” he said, adding: “Moroccan football remains the same but for its ambitions, instead of waiting until the 2018 World Cup, we’ll focus on the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
“The national team is completely ready, it will fight to qualify.”
The Canberra Times