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Lavrov Urges Phased Lifting of Sanctions on North Korea

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for phased lifting of sanctions on North Korea after talks with his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho.

Sergey Lavrov

During his visit to Pyongyang, Lavrov also said that North Korea would not give up nuclear weapons until sanctions are lifted. Russia calls for concrete agreements on North Korea that are in everyone's interest, Lavrov stressed.

"As for sanctions, it is absolutely obvious that, as we start discussions on how to resolve the nuclear problem on the Korean peninsula, it is understood that the solution cannot be comprehensive without the lifting of sanctions," he said.

"This cannot be achieved at one go. There can be no immediate denuclearization, this should be done step by step and all sides should go halfway during every single phase of this process," Lavrov noted.

He further stated that Russia did not believe it had a say in North Korea's talks with the United States.

"I don't think we should explore North Korea's talking points that it plans to bring to the negotiations with the US. Expert consultations are under way in preparation for the talks, and we don't feel like we are in a position to interfere with this process," Lavrov said.

"But as soon as their agreements are offered to the international community for scrutiny, the UN Security Council might need to support certain initiatives, and we will be ready to back concrete agreements that are in the interest of all parties involved, including that of North Korea," he added.

"We welcome the contacts that have been intensively forming in the past months between North Korea and South Korea, between the North and the United States," Lavrov said.

"We urge all parties involved to remember about their responsibility for this very fragile process to avoid its breakdown," he warned.

The United Nations and several individual states led by the United States imposed several rounds of sanctions on North Korea, following Pyongyang's declaring itself a nuclear power in 2005, withdrawing from the six-party talks on denuclearization four years later and conducting nuclear tests in violation of the UN regulations.

However, recently, North Korea dismantled three test mines at the Punggye-Ri nuclear site.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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