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Russia: Ministerial Meeting on Korean Nuclear Issue Premature
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It is still too early to talk about a meeting of foreign ministers of the six parties in the talks on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, Russia's chief negotiator in the talks said on Sunday.

"The idea that the foreign ministers of the six parties should meet at a certain stage has been articulated. However, I believe it is still too early to speak about that," Alexander Losyukov, who is also deputy foreign minister, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

"One must begin with the search for a common understanding of the tasks and goals, as well as the readiness to achieve them," Losyukov said.

"Then, work must begin at the expert level and then gradually move to a higher level, including the level of delegation heads or foreign ministers," he said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday that the third phase of the fifth round of the six-party talks will open on Feb. 8 in Beijing.

The six-party talks involve North Korea, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

Russia has advocated "a comprehensive deal," rather than "sporadic talks" on certain elements of the problem, Losyukov said.

"A kind of 'roadmap' or action plan coordinated by all the parties must be developed," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2007)

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