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Agreement Expected to Be Signed on 6th Day
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An agreement on the first step toward the denuclearization of North Korea may come out on Tuesday as negotiations dragged into the sixth day.

"It is likely to see a joint document before Tuesday evening," Russian representative Alexander Losyukov said early Tuesday.

Losyukov said he supported China's draft as it gives a balanced consideration to the interests of all parties.

The draft, circulated on last Thursday, reportedly proposes halting within two months the work at nuclear sites in the North Korea, including the Yongbyon reactor, and supplying Pyongyang with alternative energy sources.

Chief Japanese negotiator Kenichiro Sasae said Tuesday morning that the China draft is a "good text," suggesting Japan's readiness to accept it.

"To reach an accord, it would be the key that North Korea would take a forward-looking attitude," Sasae said.

A new deal was said to emerge after a marathon 16-hour negotiations till 2 o'clock Tuesday morning.

The US envoy to the talks, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, said Tuesday morning the tentative deal had been approved by the US government.

"We've approved it, to the best of my knowledge we've approved it," Hill said, adding North Korea had seen the same text.

Asked if he hopes North Korea will come back with a good answer on the draft presented by host China, Hill said, "I hope so."

The current phase of six-nation talks began last Thursday on a promising note after North Korea and the United States showed a compromise in a landmark meeting in Berlin in January.

Chief negotiators had an-hour-long group meeting Tuesday morning in the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, according to the press center.

An announcement might follow a plenary session Tuesday afternoon.

(Xinhua News Agency February 13, 2007)

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