Russia: North Korea needs security guarantees

As the U.S. is trying to affect North Korea by tough talk, Russia strives to provide that all the parties in the upcoming negotiations on Pyongyang’s nuclear program be equal in rights. Only this can guarantee progress in negotiations, Russia believes.

A top Russian diplomat said Wednesday that he expected progress in the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program this month.

"We fully expect a degree of progress and a step forward, compared to the agreements reached in previous meetings," Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev told the Interfax news agency in an interview.

In separate comments, Alexeyev said that Russia had argued for offering security guarantees to the isolated regime in Pyongyang to persuade it to give up its nuclear weapons program, says the AP.

"We consider the provision of security guarantees an important part of resolving the nuclear issue. We are ready to participate in providing such guarantees, on a bilateral and multilateral basis," ITAR-Tass quoted him as saying.

"We believe the main topic for the six-party talks should remain the resolution of questions linked to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," Alexeyev said. "As far as the concerns of other participants, including humanitarian issues, in our view these should be dealt with on a bilateral basis."

Talking about "humanitarian issues," Alexander Alexeyev meant Japan’s intention to use the six-party talks to resolve the cases of Japanese kidnapped decades ago by North Korean agents.

North Korea announced on Saturday that it would end a yearlong boycott and return to the six-party nuclear negotiations, which involve South Korea, China, Japan, the United States and Russia. The new round will open in Beijing during the week of July 25.

On Monday North Korea once again declared it would not need nuclear weapons if the U.S. didn’t threaten it. But the U.S. seems not to hear the claim: yesterday U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States wanted "a strategic decision on the part of the North that they are indeed ready to give up their nuclear weapons program."

On the photo: Alexander Alexeyev. NTV

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