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    Wrap: Russian leadership slams N.Korea sanctions, urges calm over Iran

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    Russia's leadership went on the diplomatic offensive Wednesday with the foreign minister launching an attack on a draft UN resolution on North Korea and the president urging caution to avoid wrecking progress on the Iranian nuclear problem.

    MOSCOW, July 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's leadership went on the diplomatic offensive Wednesday with the foreign minister launching an attack on a draft UN resolution on North Korea and the president urging caution to avoid wrecking progress on the Iranian nuclear problem.

    After North Korea test-fired several missiles last Tuesday, the Security Council has been considering a punitive draft resolution proposed by Japan that Russia's top diplomat, Sergei Lavrov, vehemently criticized for leaving no option of a compromise.

    "Unfortunately, Japan, one of the coauthors of the document has taken an absolutely uncompromising position claiming that any amendments to the document will be unacceptable," he said. "Moreover, Japanese officials say that all countries should vote as Japan wants, otherwise negative consequences will follow. I consider such statements absolutely unacceptable."

    Lavrov said Russia had proposed adopting a statement at the UN Security Council - a milder response to Pyongyang's actions - which would have been an instant and common reaction to the incident and should have deterred a threat to disrupting six-way talks on the communist state's nuclear programs.

    "Unfortunately, the draft resolution that had been proposed and is currently under discussion at the UN Security Council contains all these unpleasant things," Lavrov said.

    President Vladimir Putin, speaking to Canadian television network CTV ahead of a Group of Eight summit in St. Petersburg this weekend, echoed the minister's words and warned Western countries against repeating mistakes.

    Putin said the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, for example, had yielded no results and doubted the economic, social and political situation in the country, which had previously endured tough international sanctions, had improved under the U.S.-led coalition.

    He said the problems surrounding North Korea and Iran were similar situations in this respect.

    The president even said about the North Korean tests: "Formally, in legal terms, from the standpoint of international law, North Korea has the right to develop missile technologies because it has not signed any international agreements in the field."

    But Putin said this did not mean that Pyongyang could exercise this right to the detriment of other countries' interests and added that international concerns over the missile tests would be high on the agenda of the summit of the world's most developed nations.

    "Naturally, this will be under discussion in St. Petersburg," he said after commenting that the tests were a matter of concern for Russia as they had happened close to its borders.

    On July 15-17, the leaders of Germany, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy and Japan will hold their annual summit in Russia for the first time.

    Putin, however, said Russia and the West had no differences over the goals they want to attain regarding North Korea and Iran but there was no unity on methods.

    "Unlike in previous years, today there is no difference in the objectives we want to achieve," Putin said. "We, as well as our G8 partners including Canada, the U.S. and European countries, want the world to be more secure so that no more threats emerge and weapons of mass destruction and means of their delivery do not proliferate."

    Putin also issued a stark warning that the imposition of sanctions on Tehran could wreck the current positive process in talks on Iran's nuclear program.

    The Islamic Republic has so far failed to respond to incentives proposed by the five permanent Security Council members and Germany in return for its consent to halt uranium enrichment, which can be used in weapons production and power generation, though the package was handed over June 6.

    "This problem has existed for several years," Putin said. "What will change if we wait for another three weeks? I think nothing will change. Therefore, we need no commotion," Putin said.

    He also said the development of nuclear technologies required international attention not only because of the Iranian crisis but also because of "other countries that are on the verge of developing nuclear technologies."

    He said this weekend's summit would focus on energy security, including Russia's proposal to establish a network of centers for uranium enrichment and spent nuclear fuel processing.

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