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Posted : 2011-07-27 08:26
Updated : 2011-07-27 08:26

The Elders hail talks with N. Korea

WASHINGTON, (Yonhap) -- An international group of prominent statesmen, peace and human rights advocates on Tuesday welcomed the resumption of an inter-Korean dialogue and imminent talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

"I am delighted, and relieved, to see that the North and the South have overcome their recent differences and decided to return to the discussion table,”former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said in a statement issued by his group, known as The Elders.

He and other members visited Pyongyang in April in an effort to ease tensions on the peninsula.

The Elders noted the meeting between the top nuclear envoys from the two Koreas last week in Bali, Indonesia, came after relations on the peninsula deteriorated dangerously over the past three years.

Equally encouraging is Washington's invitation for North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan to New York, the group said. Kim is expected to arrive in New York later Tuesday for talks with U.S. government officials.

"In the view of The Elders, these two tracks of bilateral talks should lead to sustained dialogue on all outstanding issues, and then be followed by an early resumption of the Six-Party Talks on denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula," the organization said.

Commenting on the breakthrough, former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari said, “The key issue now is to not let this initiative peter out. To build confidence among all concerned, a solid agenda of priority issues for discussion needs to be drawn up.”

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