Friday, August 17, 2018

© Reuters. Chairwoman of the Russian Federation Council Matviyenko attends a session of the Council of Heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Sochi© Reuters. Chairwoman of the Russian Federation Council Matviyenko attends a session of the Council of Heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Sochi

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A senior official in the Russian parliament will discuss North Korea’s missile and nuclear program in separate talks with parliamentarians from Seoul and Pyongyang on Monday, TASS news agency said.

Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of the Senate upper house, will discuss the issue with a deputy head of North Korea’s legislature and the head of South Korea’s parliament on the sidelines of a congress of parliamentarians in St Petersburg, TASS quoted a senior Russian lawmaker as saying.

“Both meetings will take place on Oct. 16,” TASS cited Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Senate’s international relations committee, as saying.

Quoting an unnamed source, RIA news agency said earlier on Saturday the meetings would take place on Oct. 15.

“I believe that during the meetings the Russian side will call (on North and South Korea) to hold direct contacts. This would be quite natural, but of course we cannot, and should not, force anyone to do so,” Kosachev told TASS.

North Korea’s nuclear tests and missile launches have stirred global tensions and prompted several rounds of international sanctions at the U.N. Security Council.

A de-escalation plan, which is backed by Russia and China, would see North Korea suspend its ballistic missile program and the United States and South Korea simultaneously call a moratorium on large-scale missile exercises, both moves aimed at paving the way for multilateral talks.

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