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UN envoy says NKorea 'not eager' to restart nuclear talks

world Updated: Feb 13, 2010 00:10 IST
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North Korea was "not eager" to return to six-nation disarmament talks, a UN envoy said on Friday, amid intensified efforts to bring the communist state back to the negotiating table.

The comments by Lynn Pascoe came as a report said North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator was planning a rare visit to the United States next month.

Pascoe told reporters in Beijing that he had held "frank" discussions with officials in Pyongyang on issues that included the stalled six-party talks and UN sanctions imposed on the North for a nuclear test it conducted last year.

"They certainly are not happy with the sanctions and they certainly were not eager -- not ruling out, but not eager --to return to the six-party talks," said Pascoe, who was sent by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Pascoe, the first high-level UN official to visit the isolated state since 2004, declined to discuss specifics of his talks in North Korea.

However, while calling his meetings "useful", he disputed an earlier report by China's official Xinhua news agency that quoted him saying he was "very satisfied" with the discussions.

"I was certainly satisfied with the arrangements... not the content of all of the discussions," said Pascoe, who met Kim Yong-Nam, the official number two leader, and other officials.