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G-8 Leaders Ask North Korea and Iran to Stop Nuclear Weapons Programs - 2003-06-02


Leaders of the world's leading industrial countries and Russia have called on North Korea and Iran to curtail their nuclear weapons programs. The comments came after another day of meetings at the G-8 summit in Evian, France. Chris Simkins has more.

In a joint statement the group of eight leaders said Pyongyang should visibly, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

The leaders also called on Iran to meet its obligations on nuclear proliferation. They said Tehran should accept more intrusive U.N. inspections without conditions.

The comments come amid growing concerns by the international community that both North Korea and Iran are developing nuclear weapons to sell to rouge nations or terrorists.

Iran says it has a vibrant nuclear research program but has denied allegations it is seeking to produce nuclear weapons. North Korea has acknowledged its has a nuclear weapons program.

At their summit the G-8 leaders described weapons of mass destruction as the leading threat to international security. They called for tighter international export controls to ensure weapons and radioactive materials will not fall into the hands of terrorists.

After the summit meeting President Bush and French President Jacques Chirac held bilateral talks geared at resolving bitter differences over the U.S.- led war in Iraq. It was their first face-to face meeting since the conflict. Mr. Bush talked to reporters.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH
We can have disagreements but that doesn’t mean we have to be disagreeable to each other. I’m very glad I came and I’d say absolutely that this has been very helpful and a positive meeting.

Mr. Chirac echoed Mr. Bush’s comments. France later announced plans to send French special forces to work with U.S. peacekeepers in Afghanistan.

On Sunday the leaders said their countries would provide billions of dollars in the global fight against AIDS, and take measures to improve international economic cooperation.

Meanwhile, 16 kilometers away from where the leaders are meeting, anti-globalization protesters clashed with French riot police.

They used tear gas and water cannon to disperse thousands of demonstrators who tried to block roads leading to the summit meeting.

Continuing demonstrations are likely as the G-8 leaders hold more meetings Tuesday that will focus on economic and political issues.

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