Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is of the opinion that complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula would happen only if the sanctions against Pyongyang were lifted. Lavrov, who reached North Korea on Thursday, was on a visit to the country to discuss the situation in the Korean peninsula with his counterpart.

“In regards to sanctions, it is absolutely obvious that starting the whole conversation about the solution of the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula, we proceed from the fact that it cannot be complete until the sanctions are abolished,” Lavrov said following talks with North Korea’s foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, Russian international television network RT reported.

Lavrov also called for concrete agreements on the issue which are in everyone’s interest, and added Russian government did not think it had any involvement with North Korea’s expected talks with President Donald Trump.

“This cannot be achieved at one go. There can be no immediate denuclearization, this should be done step by step and all sides should go halfway during every single phase of this process,” Lavrov added, Sputnik International reported. “I don’t think we should explore North Korea’s talking points that it plans to bring to the negotiations with the U.S. Expert consultations are under way in preparation for the talks, and we don’t feel like we are in a position to interfere with this process.”

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