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Russia: 6-party DPRK talks starts on Aug 26
( 2003-08-13 08:10) (Agencies)

A senior Russian diplomat said on Tuesday that August 26 could be a possible date for the six-nation talks aimed at settling the dispute over the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) alleged nuclear program.

"This is one of the suggestions... It is only natural that a decision (on the date for the negotiations) will be made after an agreement between all participants in the negotiating process is reached," Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov was quoted by Interfax as saying.

The DPRK said last week that the six-nation talks, which includes the DPRK, the United States, China, South Korea, Russia and Japan, would be held in Beijing soon.

Fedotov said envoys from the DPRK and South Korea will hold discussion in Moscow within the next few days ahead of the six-side talks.

Meanwhile, Itar-Tass cited Russian diplomatic sources as saying that the Russian Foreign Ministry would meet separately with envoys from the DPRK and South Korea in Moscow on Wednesday.

Deputy foreign minister Alexander Losyukov will hold talks on Wednesday first with DPRK Deputy Foreign Minister Kang Sok Ju andthen with his South Korean counterpart Kim Jae Sup, the sources said.

There would be no meeting between the envoys from the DPRK and South Korea or trilateral meeting with the participation of Russian diplomats, Interfax reported.

Itar-Tass also said Russian President Vladimir Putin's envoy in the Far East, Konstantin Pulikovsky, will visit the DPRK later this month to discuss bilateral cooperation. Pulikovsky does not plan to discuss the nuclear issue, the report added.

The crisis over the DPRK's alleged nuclear program broke out last October when Washington said Pyongyang had admitted running a secret nuclear program in breach of a 1994 bilateral accord.

As a result, the United States suspended fuel deliveries to the DPRK. In return, the DPRK announced its withdrawal from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in January and later reactivated a nuclear reactor for generating electricity.

Russia has been repeatedly calling for a political solution to the crisis.

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