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Discussion with North Korea 'more fruitful' now: UN

world Updated: Sep 29, 2009 11:36 IST
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Talks between the UN and North Korea have become "much more fruitful," the UN chief of political affairs said on Monday.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met on Sunday with Pak Gil Yon, North Korea's vice foreign affairs minister, to discuss a range of unsettled issues like the country's nuclear programme and humanitarian aid.

"The discussion has been much more fruitful than in past months," said UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs B Lynn Pascoe, but added he does not believe North Korea has become friendlier despite the efforts to remain engaged with the UN. No details were given about whether UN-Pyonyang talks have resolved outstanding issues.

"We are always interested in the processes and the UN secretary general encouraged them to return to the six-party talks, which we thinks is a valuable way to move forward," Pascoe said. But he added that North Korea has indicated it is not yet ready to return to the talks.

The six-party talks involve China, the US, Russia, Japan and North and South Korea. The talks have failed to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

A UN statement issued late on Sunday following Ban's meeting with Pakistan called for dialogue between the two sides to resolve outstanding issues. It said North Korea has the intention to engage in bilateral and multilateral dialogue with the concerned parties to settle those issues.

The statement said Ban voiced concerns over the humanitarian and human rights situations in North Korea.

"He highlighted the need for proactive action to enhance donor commitments to meet the serious food security needs," the statement said. "He encouraged the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea to increase access and information sharing."