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Russia proposes restoring working groups at six-nation talks on Korean nuclear problem

BEIJING, July 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is proposing making the six-nation talks on the North Korean nuclear problem more frequent and resuming activities of working groups designed to smooth contradictions between the parties, said Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alekseyev, who is heading the talks' Russian delegation.

"This proposal implies that there are no big breaks between the rounds," he said. "If we agree upon the main principles and package solutions of a Korean peninsula nuclear-free status, we need a group of experts to tackle technical issues following political decisions."

He also said delegates might discuss the dismantling of North Korean nuclear facilities and compensating Pyongyang's economic losses in order to improve relations with the Unites States.

"We are proposing that this group of experts should gather as soon as possible," for instance, in mid-September, Alekseyev said.

The six-nation talks involving Russia, North Korea, South Korea, the United States, China and Japan were launched in August 2003.

Three rounds of the six-nation talks were held to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear program.

The fourth round scheduled for late September 2004 was postponed when North Korean negotiators refused to participate, citing what they described as a hostile climate created by the U.S. North Korea demanded clarity on South Korea's uranium and plutonium experiments, conducted since 1982.

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