- - Sunday, July 24, 2011

NORTH KOREA

N. Korean official to visit U.S. on stalled nuke talks

BALI, Indonesia — North Korea’s vice foreign minister will visit the United States this week to discuss the next steps needed to resume international negotiations aimed at ridding the communist nation of its nuclear programs, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday.

The announcement was a further sign that diplomats could be close to reviving six-nation talks that broke off in 2008.

The minister, Kim Kye Gwan, will travel to New York at Mrs. Clinton’s invitation, which she made after a meeting Saturday in Bali, Indonesia, with Mr. Kim and Japan’s foreign minister, Takeaki Matsumoto. The meeting came on the sidelines of a regional forum of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations where officials from 27 nations discussed security.

Mr. Kim will meet with a team of U.S. officials to explore his country’s commitment to return to the international talks and take concrete steps toward disarmament, Mrs. Clinton said in a statement issued as she was leaving Bali.

AFGHANISTAN

Afghan officials say NATO killed 3 civilians

KABUL — Afghan officials said Sunday that NATO forces battling insurgents along an eastern highway accidentally killed three civilians who were caught in the crossfire.

NATO said that local residents presented the bodies of three civilians killed. Spokesman Capt. Justin Brockhoff said it was unclear whose fire had killed them.

The battle broke out after international troops struck a roadside bomb in Wardak province.

The dead included a woman who was a provincial health official. Wardak government spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said Dr. Aqeela Hekmat and two of her family members were killed in their vehicle, and her husband was injured. Dr. Hekmat was the head of gynecology and maternal health for neighboring Ghazni province.

Provincial Police Chief Gen. Abdul Qayum Baqizai also confirmed three deaths and said it was clear that they were killed by NATO fire.

President Hamid Karzai’s office said in a statement that it was investigating the allegations.

In a separate incident, the president’s office reported that an 8-year-old boy kidnapped by insurgents in southern Helmand province was hanged Friday by the militants. The boy’s captors had demanded that his father, a police officer, supply them with a police vehicle and he refused, Mr. Karzai’s office said in a statement.

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