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Russia’s Lavrov praises US, N.Korea nuclear efforts

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov praised on Monday efforts by the US and North Korea to de-escalate the crisis over Pyongyang’s nuclear programme ahead of a planned summit between the two.

But Lavrov cautioned that “it is not 100 percent sure” that the historic nuclear talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump planned for June 12 in Singapore would go ahead.

“Together with China, we welcome any steps and any efforts which would help us overcome the lack of trust, overcome confrontations and would create proper ground to move forward,” said Lavrov at a meeting of foreign ministers from the BRICS bloc in Pretoria.

“We want this process — if it’s going to take place, although it is not 100 percent sure,” he added, referring to the planned June 12 summit.

He also called for the “principles of peace, security and stability” to prevail across the Asia-Pacific region.

Trump confirmed on Friday that the meeting would go ahead just a week after he had accused Pyongyang of “hostility” and put the proposed summit on ice.

The talks were put back on track after extraordinary Oval Office discussions between Trump and a top envoy from Pyongyang last week.

Following that encounter, the US president warned he did not expect to immediately sign a deal to bring a halt to the reclusive regime’s nuclear programme.

Most expert observers are sceptical of a rapid breakthrough, and Trump admitted it would be a long and difficult process.

On Thursday, Kim Jong Un told Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that his commitment to denuclearisation remains “unchanged and consistent and fixed,” but experts warn he will seek concessions from Washington.