9 Nov 2018 09:30

Russia calls on UNSC to respond to worsening humanitarian situation in N. Korea

NEW YORK (UN). Nov 9 (Interfax) - Russia has called on the United Nations Security Council at its closed-door consultations on North Korea to step up the search for options to improve the dire humanitarian situation facing North Korea due to sanctions, the Russian Permanent Mission to the UN told Interfax.

"During the UNSC consultations, we drew the council members' attention to the serious problems of a humanitarian nature that exist today as a result of the implementation of sanctions resolutions. In particular, structures such as the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the UN Development Program, the World Food Program, etc. are having difficulty at the moment conducting their activities in and with the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea]," the Russian mission's press secretary Fyodor Strzhizhovsky said after the UNSC meeting.

"Pyongyang's normal interaction with organizations such as UNESCO, the International Olympic Committee, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has been disrupted," he said.

"North Korean citizens have been denied [permission] to participate in a series of international events organized by these organizations, even though it is in no way prohibited by the sanctions regime," Strzhizhovsky said.

Furthermore, "Russian companies, which are engaged in noncommercial or purely humanitarian activities that are not subject to sanctions, cannot normally function" in North Korea either, he said.

"We see this state of affairs as absolutely unacceptable and effectively in violation of the principle that the UNSC decisions are not directed against the population of the DPRK and the work of humanitarian agencies. In this context, we have called for all options to improve this situation using all of the tools available to the UNSC be considered as soon as possible," he said.

The issue of bank sanctions imposed on North Korea was also raised during the closed-door consultations, but "only in the context of ensuring the activities of UN humanitarian agencies in this country," he said.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said earlier that Russia wants bank restrictions imposed on North Korea to be lifted, but the United States will not allow that to happen.