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    WORKING GROUPS WITHIN SIX-SIDED NEGOTIATIONS ON KOREA TO BE CREATED IN MARCH

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    BEIJING, FEBRUARY 26 (RIA NOVOSTI SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT) - The working groups within the framework of the six-sided dialogue on the withdrawal from the crisis around the DPRK nuclear program can be created already in the middle of March 2004.

    The diplomatic sources in Beijing reported that such an understanding was reached during the second round of regional negotiations being held in the Chinese capital. The negotiations participants are called upon to ensure the nuclear-free status of the Korean Peninsula.

    According to the sources, the creation of the working groups would help avoid acute disputes between the participants during the main rounds and achieve progress in the course of the detailed discussion of the existing problems.

    A principled understanding has been reached at the current negotiations to create, in the course of two weeks, the working groups which will be headed by second persons in the sides' delegations. It is supposed that they will work in three areas - the curtailment of the DPRK nuclear program, rendering economic assistance to it and payment of compensations to Pyongyang for the refusal to conduct research in the nuclear sphere.

    The proposal to create a permanent advisory mechanism which could solve the technical issues between the main rounds of negotiations was made, in particular, by the Russian delegation. Russian deputy foreign minister Alexander Losyukov pointed to the need of creating such a mechanism at the opening of the second round of negotiations.

    Earlier, the head of the Russian delegation told journalists that the post of an ambassador at large can be created, who will head the Russian expert group.

    Taking part in the negotiations being held in the premises of the Diaoyutai official residence are Alexander Losyukov, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James A. Kelly, deputy foreign minister of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Kim Gie Gwang, deputy foreign minister of South Korea Lee Soo-hyuck, deputy foreign minister of China Wang Yi and deputy foreign minister of Japan Mitoji Yabunaka.

    The first round of negotiations took place in Beijing on August 27-29, 2003. The second round, which opened on February 25, will last for three days but the date of its completion has not been determined yet.

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