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Russian Envoy Says Kim Jong-Il Positive On Nuclear Talks

17 August 2005 -- A Russian official says North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Il told him he is "positive" about six-party talks aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear-weapons program.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's envoy to the Far East Federal District Konstantin Pulikovskii told the Interfax news agency that he met several times with Kim during a visit to Pyongyang this week.

Pulikovskii was in Pyongyang on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule.

The envoy said Kim also told him he "does not rule out" North Korea's return to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty "in the absence of threats from the United States."

Russia is one of the countries involved in the nuclear talks, which also include the United States, South Korea, China, and Japan.

Negotiators earlier this month failed to reach agreement. North Korea insists it should still have the right to peaceful nuclear activities, but the U.S. wants it to be completely nuclear-free. The talks are to resume at the end of this month in Beijing.