Clinton Waits For Action From N. Korea Before Talks

By , Reuters

PRESIDENT Clinton said yesterday there were ``hopeful signs'' that a clash over North Korea's nuclear program can be averted, but added Pyongyang must be willing to freeze the program for talks to proceed. ``We will evaluate words in terms of actions,'' Mr. Clinton told NBC yesterday.

It was Clinton's first public comment on the situation since former President Carter briefed the administration on his talks with North Korean President Kim Il Sung last week.

Mr. Carter declared that the crisis regarding Pyongyang's suspected effort to develop nuclear weapons was over, a view not supported by the White House.

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``The critical question is, `Are they willing to freeze this nuclear program''' while diplomacy proceeds, Clinton said. The president added that ``if it's going to be frozen, then clearly that's grounds for talking, but we have to be able to verify that.'' US officials said efforts to confirm Carter's understandings were scheduled to begin yesterday at the United Nations. A solution on Haiti?

PRESIDENT Clinton said the US is exploring ``a number of options'' for restoring democracy to Haiti, including allowing the country's military leaders to leave for a comfortable life in exile. ``We have always said ... that we have no interest in trying to persecute anybody,'' the president said in an interview on NBC. He noted that an abrogated agreement with the military leaders had envisioned amnesty.

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