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Moscow Opposes New North Korea Economic Sanctions, Gatilov Says

The government opposes new economic sanctions on North Korea but would be ready to back measures to limit nuclear proliferation, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Tuesday.

Pyongyang was widely condemned last week after its third nuclear test since 2006, defying United Nations resolutions and putting the country closer to a workable long-range nuclear missile.

"Any additional measures of pressure on North Korea should be aimed exclusively at the sphere of non-proliferation of nuclear arms and rocket launches," Gatilov told a news conference.

"We are against measures that would affect normal trade and economic relations with North Korea. We understand our Chinese colleagues have similar views."

Moscow, a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, has urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear arms program and return to talks with world powers on disarmament.

Gatilov also said Tuesday that Russia would not support calls to refer suspected war criminals in Syria to the International Criminal Court for prosecution.

United Nations investigators said Syrian leaders, who they had identified as suspected war criminals, should face the ICC.

Gatilov said this was "not the path we should follow … at this stage it would be untimely and unconstructive."

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