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Moscow Dismisses Rumors On Uranium Deal With Pyongyang

File image of the Taechon digital reactor.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Dec 04, 2006
Moscow dismissed as "rumors" Monday a report that North Korea had offered Russia exclusive access to its uranium deposits in exchange for Russian support in multilateral talks aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear program. Japanese daily Tokyo Shimbun on Sunday cited unnamed Russian officials as saying Pyongyang had offered Russia exclusive rights to import North Korean uranium, which Russia would then enrich and export as nuclear fuel to China and Vietnam.

"We don't know who they are citing, which is why we are not going to comment on these rumors at the moment," Sergei Novikov, chief spokesman for Russian nuclear agency Rosatom, told AFP.

The paper said the two countries had secretly been in talks since 2002 on the deal, but Pyongyang had recently warmed to the idea, offering to grant the rights in exchange for Russian support in six-sided talks on the North Korean nuclear program.

Multilateral talks featuring North Korea, South Korea, China, the United States, Japan and Russia, broke down late last year when the North Koreans walked out in protest over US financial sanctions.

Pyongyang agreed about a month ago to return to the talks, after testing a nuclear bomb and being slapped with UN Security Council sanctions.

earlier related report
NKorea, Russia in secret deal over nuclear talks: report
Tokyo (AFP) Dec 03 - North Korea has offered Russia exclusive rights to its natural uranium deposits in exchange for Moscow's support at six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing Pyongyang, a report said Sunday. Russia had requested that North Korea give Moscow exclusive rights to import Pyongyang's natural uranium, with plans to profit by enriching and exporting it as nuclear fuel to China and Vietnam, the Tokyo Shimbun reported in a dispatch from Vladivostok in eastern Russia.

The two countries have been secretly in talks since 2002 on the deal, but Pyongyang only recently showed a positive attitude on the deal, demanding Russian support its position in the stalled six-party talks as a precondition for the deal, the newspaper said, citing unnamed Russian government sources.

The multi-lateral talks, which started in 2003, broke down late last year when North Korea walked out over separate financial sanctions imposed on it by the United States for money laundering and counterfeiting.

Pyongyang only agreed about a month ago to return to the talks after testing its nuclear bomb and drawing UN Security Council sanctions.

The US, along with Japan, has said it would not resume the six-party talks until a concrete outcome is ready to be put on the table, fearing North Korea would use the meeting as a stalling tactic to expand its nuclear arsenal.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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World Powers To Meet In Paris On Iran Nuclear Sanctions
Paris (AFP) Dec 04, 2006
Six world powers are to meet Tuesday in Paris in their latest bid to secure agreement on a package of sanctions against Iran for its refusal to suspend sensitive nuclear activities. High-ranking diplomats from the five veto-wielding UN Security Council members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany will attend the talks Tuesday evening at the French foreign ministry.

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