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Ban Ki-Moon calls for patience on N Korea

The incoming UN Secretary General called for patience in global efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

india Updated: Dec 26, 2006 13:34 IST

Incoming United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called on Tuesday for patience in international efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

"The issue requires time and patience. As UN secretary general, I will step up efforts to resolve it," Ban said.

He returned to South Korea on Sunday after the latest round of six-party nuclear talks ended in Beijing without any apparent agreement.

The talks involving the two Koreas, Japan, China, Russia and the United States resumed last week after a 13-month hiatus during which Pyongyang tested a nuclear bomb.

"It is regrettable that six-party talks failed to produce concrete results but I believe a channel of multilateral dialogue must be maintained," Ban told reporters.

Asked whether he will visit North Korea after taking office on January 1, Ban said: "As yet, I don't have such a plan."

He said his work next year would focus on solving regional conflicts and reforming the global organisation.

"I feel a great mental burden as I have to face many tough issues," he said, citing Iran's nuclear programme, Lebanon and Darfur.

Ban last week urged Tehran to resume stalled talks with three European powers after the UN Security Council passed a resolution mandating sanctions targeting Iran's nuclear and missile programmes.

Iran has refused to halt its nuclear programme and vowed to start work on drastically expanding its capacity to enrich uranium.

Ban, 62, was formerly South Korea's foreign minister. He was to meet President Roh Moo-Hyun and Prime Minister Han Myeong-Sook later in the day.

First Published: Dec 26, 2006 13:34 IST