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Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:16
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Upper house speaker to meet North, South Korean MPs at IPU Assembly

ST. PETERSBURG, October 16. /TASS/. Speaker of Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Valentina Matviyenko will have meetings with the heads the North Korean and South Korean delegations on the sidelines on the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly on Monday. It is expected that during the meetings the Russian side will offer direct dialogue to Seoul and Pyongyang. Despite the fact that members of the North Korean delegation have said on several occasions on the sidelines of the assembly that they are not yet planning to meet with South Korea’s representatives, so far expectations persist at the assembly that such a meeting on the sidelines of the IPU assembly will be held. Russian parliamentarians admit that the chances that this meeting will take place are pretty slim. "We will try [to bring the delegations to the negotiating table], the degree of probability is difficult to predict, but we can say honestly that they chances are slim," Matviyenko told reporters at a news conference in the run-up to the opening of the 137th IPU Assembly. She assured though that Russia will do its utmost to create the conditions for such a meeting. For his part, head of Russia’s Federation Council International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev stressed that Russia will not force or persuade anyone to hold such a meeting. "Actually, it would be disappointing humanly and politically if another opportunity to ease tensions in relations between North and South Koreas is missed, but we cannot force anyone and will not do so," the senator said. He added that the proposal concerning the talks between North Korea’s and South Korea’s representatives on the sidelines of the IPU with Russia's assistance had been put forward publicly long before the assembly. "We did not instruct our ambassadors in any way, some other channels, there was nothing like this. There were no such direct contacts. However, we came up with this idea that the two antagonized countries should meet in the parliamentary format and, of course, on the platform of the Inter-Parliamentary Union," Kosachev noted. Read more