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Russia Urges North Korea to Finish Disabling Nuclear Facilities


Russia's Foreign Ministry says it is disappointed and concerned about North Korea's decision to stop disabling its nuclear facilities.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Russia called on Pyongyang to restart its work so that it can finish disabling the main Yongbyon nuclear power plant by the end of October.

Russia reminded North Korea that it agreed to that date earlier this year. It also called on other participants in the talks to fulfill their commitments, but did not elaborate.

On Tuesday, North Korea announced it had halted its work and it blamed the United States, saying Washington had failed to remove it from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, as promised.

Washington says that before it removes Pyongyang from the list, the North must agree on a plan to verify efforts to end its nuclear activities.

Russia is not the only country speaking out. South Korean and Japanese officials also voiced regret at North Korea's decision. And the U.S. State Department called the decision "a step backward" in the six-party process.

The U.S. says it is still waiting to confirm the accuracy of North Korea's statements, and the U.S. State Department notes that a U.S. disablement team remains at the Yongbyon facility and continues to monitor activities at the site.

Washington announced in June that it might remove North Korea from the list as early as August 11. Later, however, it said it was still waiting for North Korea to meet its commitment regarding verification.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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