Kremlin: Russia Ready to Mediate US-North Korea Talks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks at the UN
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks during a news conference at United Nations headquarters. Photo: Mary Altaffer, Associated Press

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday that Russia was ready to mediate talks between the United States and North Korea, if the two parties agree to it.

“Russia is ready if both sides need it and want it,” Mr. Peskov said in a call with reporters, according to TASS. “It is impossible to become a mediator between two parties only if one side seeks so, the will of two sides is needed here.”

Mr. Peskov’s remarks came as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed North Korea’s nuclear programme with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

During the phone conversation, Mr. Lavrov stressed the need to start a negotiations process, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“The sides were united in the opinion that nuclear missile projects in North Korea violate the demands of the U.N. Security Council,” the ministry stated.

Mr. Lavrov “once again highlighted that it is unacceptable to exacerbate tensions around the Korean peninsula with Washington’s aggressive rhetoric toward Pyongyang and increasing military preparations in the region,” it said.

“It was underlined that it is necessary to move from the language of sanctions to the negotiating process as soon as possible,” the statement said, adding that it was Mr. Tillerson who initiated the call.

The UN Security Council on Friday slapped new sanctions on North Korea that will restrict oil supplies vital for its missile and nuclear programmes, the latest response to Pyongyang’s ICBM test last month.


With reporting by AFP