World

Merkel suggests Iran nuclear deal as template for N. Korea

FRANKFURT: Germany would lend its weight to a diplomatic push to end North Korean nuclear weapons and missile development along the lines of a past deal with Iran, Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday.

"I would say yes immediately if we were asked to join talks," Ms Merkel told weekly newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

GOOD END

Talks between Iran and six world powers, sealed with a 2015 deal for Teheran to roll back its nuclear programme and submit to inspections in exchange for some sanctions being rolled back, were "a long but important period of diplomacy" that had achieved a "good end", she added.

"I could imagine such a format for the settlement of the North Korea conflict. Europe and especially Germany ought to be ready to make a very active contribution," she said.

The chancellor said she had held telephone talks with the leaders of France, the United States, China, South Korea and Japan about the North Korea crisis over the past week, and is expected to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin today.

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in an interview published yesterday, said the showdown over North Korea's nuclear and missile programme was the world's worst crisis "in years".

"To date, we have had wars which have been initiated after a well thought-out decision," Mr Guterres said in an interview published by Le Journal du Dimanche. "But we also know that other conflicts have started through an escalation caused by sleepwalking." - AFP

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