Six-sided negotiations on North Korea to be held in mid-December

Russia did not receive an official notice on the possible date for holding the second round of the six-sided negotiations on North Korea, reported Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov.

On Wednesday, the Japanese newspaper Asahi wrote that the negotiations had been scheduled for December 10-13 in Beijing. The agreement on this issue was reached by the USA and North Korea, and now they are waiting for the answer of other participants in the dialogue.

"If this issue is set to us and the date is determined we will not object," Losyukov pointed out.

Russia should be well prepared for the negotiations, and "this is what we are doing now," he stressed.

The deputy foreign minister recalled that during the first round the sides declared their principled positions and submitted their proposals on the problem. "Now, we should conduct a more specific conversation on separate aspects of the settlement, and concerns experienced by the sides, above all by North Korea," Losyukov believes.

It would be premature to expect a breakthrough decision at the negotiations. "It will be impossible to fully solve the problem during the second round, but the sides can make a decision to discuss a possibility of a compromise," the diplomat pointed out.

According to him, a stage-by-stage approach is needed to solve the Korean problem. North Korea is interested in receiving weighty, judicially binding guarantees of its security in writing, if possible. Bur the USA will try to discuss the plan of curtailing the North Korea's nuclear program in more details. "We should have in mind a package solution which will stipulate the comprehensive approach - security guarantees, removal of concerns over the DPRK nuclear program, and, possibly, economic assistance," the source emphasized.

Moscow believes that a compromise is possible on the part of the USA and the DPRK. "The other participants will try and help to discuss such compromises," Losyukov stressed.

The first round of negotiations was held in Beijing in August 2003. Taking part in them were representatives of the USA, the DPRK, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia.

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