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Russia tries to convince South, North Korea to start talks – upper house speaker

Moscow is trying to persuade the delegations of South and North Korea to sit down at the negotiating table, Russia's Federation Council (upper house) Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said on Friday.

However, the chances that the two delegations will hold a meeting at the 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in St. Petersburg on October 14-18, are slim, Matviyenko told reporters.

"We will try, it is difficult to forecast the probability degree, but frankly speaking, the chances are not high," Matviyenko said. "In any case, we will make every effort to create conditions for this meeting," she said. "Well, if no success, the mere fact of our talks with them is already important."

Matviyenko has welcomed the arrival of North Korea's delegation in St. Petersburg. "This is also the result of our efforts, the Foreign Ministry and our parliamentary efforts," she pointed out. "We believe no one should be isolated, everyone should have a chance to participate and voice their opinion."

The upper house speaker also said she would hold official bilateral meetings with South Korea's parliament speaker and the first deputy chairman of North Korea's parliament, who heads the delegation. The situation on the Korean Peninsula will be also discussed, she said.

"We will try to make an agreement, persuade them and explain the importance of dialogue and try to sit down at the negotiating table and attempt to start searching for compromise," she stressed.

The international community, including members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, is alarmed by the current situation on the Korean Peninsula, Matviyenko said. "If we ask the citizens of South or North Korea whether they want war, the answer will be the same: they are afraid of war and they don't want any war."

The parliamentarians could have an important role in searching for solutions to ease tensions in North Korea, Matviyenko said.

The IPU is the oldest international parliamentary organization, which unites parliamentarians from 170 countries and includes 11 inter-parliamentary associations as associate members.

[Source: Itar Tass, St. Petersburg, 13Oct17]

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