German foreign minister urges direct talks with North Korea

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's foreign minister is calling for direct talks with North Korea in the standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

Officials in Germany, which holds an election Sunday, have been adamant that there must be a diplomatic solution. Chancellor Angela Merkel has pointed to the negotiations that led to Iran curtailing its nuclear program as a possible model.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told Monday's edition of the Bild daily that the world should wait for sanctions to bite, but "visions and courageous steps" also are needed.

He said "a security guarantee other than the nuclear bomb" is needed for North Korea and pointed to Cold War detente as an example. Gabriel said that requires direct negotiations with North Korea and argued that the U.S., China and Russia should participate.

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