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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia to complete fuel supplies to North Korea - envoy

RIA Novosti

14/12/2008 13:19 MOSCOW, December 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russia plans to complete fuel deliveries to North Korea as part of a denuclearization deal, the head of the Russian delegation at six-party talks on Korea's nuclear problem said on Sunday.

"We expect that we'll be able to supply our entire quota of 200,000 metric tons in the near future," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and chief North Korea negotiator Alexei Borodavkin said.

Four days of international negotiations in Beijing on North Korea's denuclearization process ended on Wednesday with no deal reached.

The six countries - the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan - discussed a Chinese-drafted verification protocol on means of probing North Korea's past nuclear activities.

After the meeting, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that Japan, Russia, China, the United States and South Korea had allegedly agreed that fuel would not be shipped until progress was made on specific steps to verify Pyongyang's nuclear activities.

However, Borodavkin said Russia was surprised by the U.S. statement on fuel aid to North Korea.

"The statement by the U.S. State Department made following the six-party talks in Beijing surprised us," Borodavkin said, adding that no such moves had been agreed on with the Russian delegation.

According to Borodavkin, Russia would ship the third batch of 50,000 metric tons of fuel oil in December in accordance with its commitments.

"We hope that all the parties to the six-nation process will comply strictly and conscientiously with the accords which were earlier reached," Borodavkin said.

At the same time, Borodavkin said Moscow hoped that in exchange for heating oil deliveries Pyongyang would complete phasing out its Yongbyon nuclear complex.

Currently, the main stumbling block in the negotiations, which have been ongoing since 2003, is the U.S. demand for nuclear inspectors to be able to take samples from North Korean facilities out of the country for analysis.

The negotiations have been complicated by North Korea's refusal to acknowledge Japan as a participant over Tokyo's failure to meet its obligations under a 2007 six-party agreement to provide fuel aid to Pyongyang in exchange for the dismantling of North Korean nuclear facilities and disclosure of all information on past nuclear activities.

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