Kim Jong-Il, the leader of North Korea (right), pictured in 2005 (AFP)
July 17, 2006 -- Leaders at the G8 summit in St. Petersburg today called on Iran and North Korea to return to talks to address international concerns about their nuclear ambitions.
In a statement, leaders of the group of eight leading industrialized states said they are especially concerned by the failure of the Iranian government to respond seriously to a recent incentives package proposed by the UN Security Council's five permanent members, plus Germany.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said "we would like the Iranian leadership to react as soon as possible to the proposals made by the six countries so that negotiations can start as soon as possible on the basis of the proposals made by the six countries."
Putin said it is premature to discuss possible sanctions on Iran, which he said would create unfavorable conditions for negotiations.
A G8 statement also expressed concern at North Korea's recent missile launches and called the country to return to six-party talks.