0459 GMT January 20, 2018
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, rferl.org reported.
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 US and South Korean military drills, Lavrov said, "now, of course, it will be more difficult to create conditions for the resumption of the dialogue."
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany signed the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.
Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.
US President Donald Trump delivered an anti-Iran speech on October 13, in which he said he would not continue to certify Iran’s compliance with the terms of the JCPOA, reached under his predecessor Barack Obama, and warned that he might ultimately terminate the agreement.
So far, the Europeans have stood by the accord which they have described as a triumph for diplomacy and a contributor to regional and international security.
After a meeting with US 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."