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Russia Criticizes IAEA Decision on North Korea - 2003-02-13


Russia is criticizing the International Atomic Energy Agency's decision to send the problem of North Korea's nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council for discussion.

According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Yakovenko, it is too early to send the issue of North Korea's nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council for discussion.

Mr. Yakovenko's comments were reported by the Russian news service, Interfax.

He added that sending the issue to the Security Council would make it harder to reach a peaceful resolution to the problems on the Korean peninsula.

The agency voted Wednesday to refer the North Korea nuclear crisis to the Security Council, but Russia, along with Cuba, abstained from the vote.

Meanwhile, a senior South Korean official is in Moscow for talks on defusing the crisis on the Korean peninsula.

South Korea has urged the Security Council to seek a diplomatic solution to the problem, rather than imposing sanctions on North Korea.

The controversy surrounding North Korea's nuclear program began last year, when the United States said North Korea admitted to having a nuclear weapons program.

Since then, tensions between the United States and North Korea have worsened as North Korea withdrew from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and restarted facilities capable of making nuclear weapons.

Russia is one of North Korea's few allies and has tried to use its influence to bring about a solution to the conflict.

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