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Russian Diplomat Pushes 'Package' Deal For N. Korea --> 5 July 2004-- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after meeting with North Korea's leader today that a package deal for the North could help to make the Korean Peninsula a nuclear-free zone.

Lavrov supported North Korean proposals that would grant security guarantees and help in solving the country's socioeconomic problems in exchange for halting Pyongyang's nuclear-development program.

Lavrov described the exchange as "the most important principle" for talks aimed at easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Lavrov also supported further six-way talks on the issue that involve Russia, North and South Korea, China, the United States, and Japan.

There have already been three rounds of those talks, most recently in China in June.

Lavrov said his visits to North and South Korea, which end today, have been useful for pushing those six-way talks forward when they resume by the end of September.