Sunday, July 12

Russia will block US bid for UN blacklist of Russian ships over North Korea


United Nations Security Council observes a moment of silence for the late former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the outset of their meetingat UN headquarters in New York City, New York. — Reuters photo

UNITED NATIONS, United States: Russia will oppose a US request to the UN Security Council to blacklist two Russian shipping firms and six Russian-flagged vessels over their dealings with sanctions-hit North Korea, the Russian ambassador said Thursday.

The United States presented a request to a UN sanctions committee on Wednesday – its third bid in two months to seek UN action and turn up the pressure on North Korea to dismantle its nuclear and missile programmes.

The request was put forward a day after Washington slapped unilateral sanctions on the two Russian companies – Primorye Maritime Logistics and Gudzon Shipping – and the six vessels for supplying oil to North Korea in violation of UN sanctions.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told AFP that the US sanctions were “illegal” and that the evidence put forward by the United States to justify action against the Russian firms was “unconvincing.”

“Of course we will oppose it. It’s obvious,” said Nebenzia of the US request to the sanctions committee.

The United States was seeking a global assets freeze on the two Russian firms, according to UN diplomats.

The shippers own a tanker, the M/V Patriot, which conducted ship-to-ship transfers of oil to North Korean tankers twice earlier this year, according to US officials. The five other vessels cited in the US request are owned by Gudzon, which along with Primorye Maritime Logistics operate out of the Russian port city of Vladivostok.

The UN sanctions committee has until Aug  29 to formally consider the US request, but Russia made clear it would not be approved.

Russia and China this month blocked a US bid to add a Russian bank, a North Korean official and two entities to the UN sanctions blacklist. In July, they delayed a US request to cut off fuel deliveries to North Korea.

The two countries have called on the Security Council to consider easing sanctions to reward North Korea for opening up dialogue with the United States and halting missile tests. — AFP