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23 Apr, 2009 18:10

Russian FM doesn’t expect breakthrough in N. Korea nuclear issue

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov does not expect any immediate breakthrough in the six-party talks on North Korea.

Lavrov is in Pyongyang in the wake of a missile test that was widely condemned around the world. It was a set-back to a disarmament process that had seemed to be making some progress with the secretive Communist state.

“We are not anticipating any breakthrough for the time being. This is a complicated issue, but it would be wrong to yield to emotions. We need to concentrate on the basis that we have,” Lavrov told Russian journalists following talks with his North Korean counterpart Pak Ui-chung on Thursday.

“Everybody has their own truth, and their own grudges against each other. We believe we should return to the firm foundation of the agreements that gave rise to the process of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in September 2005,”
the Russian Foreign Minister added.

Lavrov said that all the participants in the six-party talks assumed some obligations – which should be stuck to.

He called on all the parties involved “to concentrate on the need to look for solutions in the current complicated situation that would help resume this process."

Meanwhile, amidst hopes that Russia can change North Korea’s stance, experts believe that Russian influence alone is not enough to do it.

“If the Russian minister, Sergey Lavrov, manages to return North Korea to the negotiating table, it would be a miracle in the world of politics and a sensation,” said Sergey Lousianin, deputy director of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies. ” It will take a lot of effort and money for the global community to get a 100 per cent guarantee from North Korea to abandon its ambitions to attain the status of a nuclear power.”

During the talks, the Russian and the North Korean foreign ministers have also discussed economic cooperation between the two countries. It was agreed a special commission will meet in late May.

“The upcoming event is expected to step up work in many directions,” Lavrov said. “We have many promising projects, in particular in the construction of railways. The renovation of the railway on the Rajin-Khasan stretch has begun."

The Russian Foreign Minister expressed confidence that the project would run according to schedule despite the crisis.