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Russia's Medvedev eyes energy gains as he meets with North Korea's Kim Jong-il

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Dmitry Astakhov/Presidential Press Service/RIA Novosti/AP

(Read caption) North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, second right, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, walk during a meeting in a military garrison, outside Ulan-Ude, Wednesday, Aug. 24.

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North Korea's reclusive leader Kim Jong-il has agreed with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to return, without conditions, to the stymied six-party talks on the country's nuclear weapons program, and to consider a moratorium on WMD development as part of an agreement to build a Russian gas pipeline through his isolated Stalinist state to South Korea.

The deal, which is a potential foreign policy breakthrough for the Kremlin, came at a Siberian summit between the two leaders today, at the climax of one of Mr. Kim's rare excursions to Russia aboard his personal armored train.

The official ITAR-Tass news agency quoted Mr. Medvedev's spokeswoman, Natalya Timakova, as saying that the agreement was reached amid a friendly meeting in Ulan Ude, near the shores of Siberia's Lake Baikal, which is about midway between Pyongyang and Moscow on the 10,000-km long Trans Siberian Railroad.

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