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Kim up for it

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is ready to enter negotiations over his country’s nuclear weapons without any preconditions, announced former US president Jimmy Carter after a three-day visit to Pyongyang at the end of April. “The sticking point, and it’s a big one, is that they won’t give up their nuclear programme without some kind of security guarantee from the US,” wrote Carter, who was accompanied by three fellow “Elders”: former president of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari; former prime minister of Norway, Dr Gro Brundtland; and former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson.