Russia has called for a rapid resumption of six-party negotiations on the North Korean nuclear weapons program, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday.
"We call for resuming the six-party talks on the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula on the basis which was agreed in September, 2005...We hope that other participants will look into the swift resumption of these negotiations," Lavrov said.
The six-party talks, involving Russia, Japan, China, the United States, North and South Korea came to a halt last April when Pyongyang pulled out of the negotiations in protest against the United Nations' condemnation of its missile tests.
Lavrov made the statement after North Korea said on Wednesday it would not abandon its nuclear weapons program, but was ready to take part in non-proliferation efforts together "with other nuclear weapons states."
North Korea claims to be a nuclear weapons state after conducting two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, though the status has never been internationally confirmed.
"We will produce as many nuclear weapons as we think necessary, but we will neither participate in the nuclear arms race nor produce them in excess," the North Korean foreign ministry said in a statement.
Commenting on the North Korean statement, Lavrov said: "We should not be guided by statements which may have been made for this or another reason, but we should be guided by the agreement we have reached."
The six-party talks started in 2003 after North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). An apparent result was reached only after the fourth and fifth rounds in 2005, but was later reversed.
MOSCOW, April 22 (RIA Novosti)