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23 Jul, 2008 11:30

Russian FM: North Korea ready to give up nukes

Russia’s Foreign Minister has described the results of the ASEAN summit as positive. Sergey Lavrov said the road map for co-operation between Russia and the ASEAN bloc until 2015 had been worked out. He also said serious

“On Wednesday in Singapore, foreign ministers from Russia and the ASEAN countries held their annual meeting. This is a key tool in our partnership with the Association of South East Asian Nations. The road map was approved, which describes in detail (giving dates and naming those who will execute aspects of it) all the actions that will be taken to realise the integrated program of co-operation between Russia and the ASEAN until 2015.

This programme was approved at the first summit. On Wednesday we outlined the progress that had been made in some key areas of our co-operation, such as the war against terror and organised crime. A working group prepared a report and created the mechanism for partnership on this issue.

We also gave our support to the report written by the science and technology working group. This initiative included two important events that will take place in the future – the nana-technology seminar and the seminar on vaccines. These are key issues for the South East Asia Region and international relations in general.

The financial fund is already functioning. It supports our partnership with the ASEAN. Russia has paid its fee into this fund for two years running. $US 500,000 every year and we plan to continue to do so. Specific projects are being realised.

Six projects have been approved, and others are being discussed, including electronic trade between small and medium businesses. This is a very important and practical thing. Or, for example, Russian language classes for businessmen. These are all down- to-earth issues, designed to solve the real-life problems of our citizens. There will be more of these practical projects. So I see a good future for our partnership with the ASEAN. Russia plans to develop relations with this most effective group of countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Also here in Singapore, for the first time ever, the foreign ministers of the six countries involved in the Korean nuclear talks, held a meeting. We all agreed that the process had made progress under Chinese leadership in fulfilling the terms of the statement released in September 2005.

This statement has a three-step plan of action in the nuclear disarmament of the Korean peninsula. We agree that the first step is done. The second phase is almost over, but will last until October.

We emphasise that all six parties have to fulfill all their obligations. Russia is doing so. Along with its partners, it is delivering oil to North Korea. These deliveries are running in parallel to North Korea’s destruction of the nuclear facility in Yongbyon.

Our next step will be to work on the mechanism whereby Pyongyang verifies its statements on nuclear disarmament. We all agree that this needs to be done soon.

We emphasised that an IAEA test should be part of this process, and it was accepted. Russia also said that as the head of this group-of-six it expects that its initiatives on maintaining peace in the region will be accepted. We got the support of China, the U.S. and South Korea. Hopefully, the other participants in the negotiations will get the chance to give a positive answer to our project in the near future,” Sergey Lavrov said.