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Sudan, North Korea Cooperate But on Terrorism Sponsor List

By Alan Sipress
THE WASHINGTON POST -- Washington

Sudan and North Korea have begun cooperating with the United States in fighting terrorist groups but have not yet done enough to be removed from a U.S. list of countries sponsoring terrorism, State Department officials said Monday.

The department’s annual report on terrorism, made public Monday, says Sudan opened discussions on the issue with U.S. officials last year. The report also says Sudan agreed to sign international agreements on fighting terrorism and took domestic steps that reflected this new resolve.

“They’ve evidenced a serious interest in getting out of the terrorism business. That’s something we want to encourage,” said Edmund J. Hull, the State Department’s acting coordinator for counterterrorism.

The report says, however, that Sudan remains a safe haven for members of several terrorist groups, including Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda organization, and has not fully complied with U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding that it end assistance to terrorists.

Hull reported a similarly mixed record for North Korea, which engaged in three rounds of talks with the United States last year that culminated in a statement opposing terrorism and agreeing to support international efforts against it. But the annual State Department review also cites North Korea for harboring members of the Japanese Communist League-Red Army Faction, implicated in the 1970 hijacking of a Japanese airliner.

Barring more progress, Hull said, Sudan and North Korea would stay on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, which also includes Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria. The list has not changed since Sudan was added in 1993.

In assessing global terrorism, the report says the number of attacks last year increased eight percent over 1999, largely reflecting the repeated bombing of a multinational pipeline in Colombia by two guerrilla organizations.