Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said U.S. threats to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran are hampering efforts to end the nuclear crisis with North Korea.
Lavrov said at a summit in Vienna on December 8 that in his talks with Pyongyang, he's found North Korea is willing to negotiate a de-escalation of the crisis with the United States, but it has doubts about whether Washington will abide by any deal in light of what happened with Iran.
The question is "how to convince North Korea that a deal won't be rejected in a year or two by a new American administration," Lavrov said, according to a translation of his remarks on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
"North Korea needs security guarantees, especially when Washington is about to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal," he said.
With both sides escalating the conflict this year through a series of missile and nuclear tests by North Korea and U.S. and South Korean military drills, Lavrov said, "now, of course, it will be more difficult to create conditions for the resumption of the dialogue."
After a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on December 7, Lavrov had said Moscow was ready to try to mediate talks between Washington and Pyongyang at the same time he accused the United States of contributing to increased tensions.
"We know that North Korea wants foremost to discuss security guarantees with the United States. We're ready to support, to participate in these negotiations," Lavrov said at the time.
"We are convinced of the need to end the vicious cycle of confrontation, carelessness, and provocations."
Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa