UN envoy says DPRK willing to rejoin six-party talks if certain issues resolved

15:40, February 17, 2010      

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The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is willing to rejoin the stalled six-party nuclear negotiations if certain issues were resolved, UN political chief Lynn Pascoe said here Tuesday.

The DPRK has called for a lifting of sanctions and peace talks formally ending the 1950-53 Korean War before it returns to the nuclear talks, which also involve South Korea, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, said the UN official.

"The devil is in the details," Pascoe told reporters at the UN headquarters. But he declined to discuss the details, saying that the United Nations is only a "messenger" and not a member of the six-party talks.

The DPRK is willing to engage with the United Nations, said Pascoe, who returned Friday from his first trip to the DPRK.

During his visit to the DPRK, Pascoe met with President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong Nam and Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun to discuss a range of issues, including the nuclear issue, six-party talks, and UN-DPRK cooperation.

Pascoe told DPRK officials that international talks on denuclearization must be resumed "without preconditions or delay."

"Throughout, the discussions were friendly but frank," he said."I didn't try to soft pedal anything."

Pascoe, as special envoy of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, also delivered a verbal message from Ban, as well as a leather-bound copy of the UN Charter to the DPRK, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters last Thursday.

The gift "was a leather-bound copy of the United Nations Charter in all six official languages," he said, referring to Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish -- the six official languages of the world body.

Pascoe, the UN undersecretary-general for political affairs, was the first high-level UN official to visit the DPRK since 2004.The move represented a renewed UN effort to engage the DPRK on humanitarian and other issues.

Pascoe's four-day visit was meant to open a high-level conduit for dialogue between the UN and the DPRK.

"We succeeded in doing that," Pascoe said. "There are plans to have further engagement in the next few months."

The UN has 39 staff members in the DPRK from agencies like the World Food Program, the Food and Agricultural Organization, the UNChildren's Fund, the UN Population Fund, and the UN Development Program.

The DPRK receives lower Official Development Assistance (ODA) per capita, roughly two to four U.S. dollars, from the UN comparedto 15 dollars for those living in Myanmar or Zimbabwe, said Pascoe.

"They definitely need the help," he said.

Source: Xinhua
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