FRANKFURT AM MAIN - Germany would lend its weight to a diplomatic push to end North Korean nuclear weapons and missile development along the lines of a past deal with Iran, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday.

“I would say yes immediately if we were asked to join talks,” Merkel told weekly newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. Talks between Iran and six world powers, sealed with a 2015 deal for Tehran to roll back its nuclear programme and submit to inspections in exchange for some sanctions being rolled back, were “a long but important period of diplomacy” that had achieved a “good end,” she added.

“I could imagine such a format for the settlement of the North Korea conflict. Europe and especially Germany ought to be ready to make a very active contribution,” Merkel said.

The chancellor said she had held telephone talks with the leaders of France, the United States, China, South Korea and Japan about the North Korea crisis over the past week, and is expected to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday. Merkel’s comments come as Washington has formally requested a Monday vote on tough new sanctions for Pyongyang at the UN Security Council.

US diplomats have called for an oil embargo, an assets freeze against leader Kim Jong-Un, a ban on textiles and an end to payments of North Korean guest workers in response to the nation’s sixth nuclear test last week.

Ankara’s travel warning

Chancellor Merkel Sunday also dismissed a warning from the Turkish government against travel to Germany during its election season, stressing her country’s commitment to “freedom of opinion and the rule of law”.

“I want to say very clearly here: any Turkish citizen can travel here. No journalist will be imprisoned here,” Merkel told a rally in Delbrueck, western Germany according to news agency DPA. “Freedom of opinion and the rule of law prevail here. And we’re proud of that.”

 she added.

Relations further deteriorated after the detention of several German citizens including Deniz Yucel, a correspondent for Die Welt newspaper.

Merkel’s response to the warning came on the heels of a more combative approach from her top aide. “Turkey’s travel warning against Germany is a bad joke!”, Peter Altmaier, head of Merkel’s chancellery office, wrote on Twitter earlier Sunday. “Imprisonment without charge for many Germans is unjust! Nazi comparisons offend our honour!” he added.