Russia backs N Korea sanctions and nuclear halt: US

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Russia has renewed its support for UN sanctions designed to halt N Korea’s efforts to expand its nuclear arsenal, the US envoy for implementing the sanctions said.
Ambassador Philip Goldberg made the comment to Reuters in an interview at the end of his first day of discussions in Moscow with officials in the Russian Foreign Ministry. China made a similar pledge at the UN last week.
After N Korea’s second nuclear test in May this year, the UN Security Council passed a resolution expanding an existing arms embargo.
It also urged states to cut off all financial ties with Pyongyang unrelated to aid programs, and called for additional firms and individuals to be placed on a UN blacklist for aiding N Korea.
“I think there is a unity of view among all the members of the Security Council, the sanctions committee, in implementing and in support for the resolution,” Goldberg said.
He said this was intended “not as a matter to punish the N Korean people but as a matter to get us back to the main goal that we all share, which is denuclearization and non- proliferation on the Korean peninsula.”
Asked if he felt Russia was responding positively to ensure UN sanctions were fully implemented, he said:
“I think there is very strong support amongst the entire Security Council for that goal.”
Moscow sometimes has positioned itself in opposition to Washington on international issues and was reluctant to back tough new controls against N Korea but has condemned Pyongyang’s continual defiance of successive UN resolutions.
Expanding sanctions
Eight entities, including N Korea’s General Bureau of Atomic Energy and five N Korean individuals are now on the UN sanctions list. They face mandatory asset freezes and travel bans in all 192 UN member states.
Goldberg said the US would likely expand its own sanctions list and then consider seeking UN support for it.
“We, under our own national law, have identified one or two entities that we will designate ourselves but we will probably at some point go back to the committee.”
“We believe that the committee stands ready to accept more information and additional entities and individuals,” he said.
Goldberg characterized the discussions, which also involved US officials with oversight for national security and financial crimes, as very technical interpretations of national rules on inspections and on financial services and transactions.
Asked if efforts to “reset” relations between Moscow and Washington under US President Barack Obama had improved the climate for the discussions, he smiled and said, “We had a very cordial and good exchange and that’s what’s important.”

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