Moscow Would Welcome Washington-Pyongyang Dialogue

Moscow would welcome a dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang, Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov said on Friday at a meeting with journalists in Delhi. Commenting on yesterday's statement by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il at a meeting with the EU delegation that North Korea intends to observe the moratorium on the testing of missiles until 2003, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry noted that the first time the moratorium was mentioned was during the visit by President Vladimir Putin to Pyongyang. "We believe that this position of the North Korean leadership opens possibilities for discussing a whole number of problems both linked with stability on the Korean peninsula and in wider terms, in particular, in terms of cooperation with North Korea on a whole number of important international problems," the Russian foreign minister stressed. Igor Ivanov regards as symbolic the very visit to Pyongyang by Prime Minister of Sweden Goran Persson who is currently the EU presiding chairman. According to him, this is the reflection of the policy, which Russian diplomacy carries out actively to help North Korea get out of international isolation and join the processes currently developing in the field of international security. "Serious concerns can be removed only through a dialogue and active cooperation between countries," Ivanov said. Speaking about the statement by the US administration spokesman that Washington welcomes this position held by North Korea, Igor Ivanov pointed out that if such a response means readiness to conduct a dialogue, Moscow would only welcome it. Igor Ivanov also said that Moscow continued to make preparations for the visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to Moscow; however, the time limits of the visit have not yet been agreed upon.

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