UN, November 9. /TASS/. During the closed session of the UN Security Council on Thursday, Russia urged its partners to jointly work on solving North Korea’s humanitarian issues caused by sanctions, the official spokesman for the Russian Permanent Mission to the UN, Fyodor Strzhizhovsky, told TASS.
"Today, during the UNSC consultations, we have drawn the attention of the members of the Council to serious humanitarian problems that exist as a result of implementation of the sanctions resolutions," he said. "In this connection we urge to examine as soon as possible the options to rectify the situation using the entire tool set available to the UNSC."
According to the spokesman, the Office of the UN Commissioner on Humanitarian Affairs, the UN Development Program, the World Food Program and other international entities experience difficulties in conducting their activity in and together with North Korea.
"The normal interaction of Pyongyang has been disrupted with such organization as UNESCO, the International Olympic Committee, ESCAP [United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific] and the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent," he said. "North Korean citizens are denied participation in a number of international events organized by these organizations albeit this is not prohibited in any way by the sanctions regime."
He went on to say that Russian companies that carry out non-profit or strictly humanitarian activity, which is not subject to sanctions regime, also cannot normally operate in North Korea.
"We consider such situation to be absolutely unacceptable and actually violating the decisions of the Council as they should not be directed against the population of DPRK or the activity of humanitarian agencies," Strzhizhovsky said.
US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley told reporters after the Security Council meeting that Russia was seeking to remove sanctions against North Korea's banking sphere. "They talk a lot about how they are concerned about the humanitarian situation in North Korea, but the truth always comes out at the end," she said, adding that Moscow wanted to have sanctions removed, because it already violates them.
"What they are looking for is to lift banking restrictions," the US ambassador to the UN said. "So now we know what their agenda is, we know exactly what they are trying to do and we are not going to let it happen."
Commenting on the possibility of easing North Korean sanctions, Haley said: "We have given a lot of carrots up until now. We’re not going to get rid of the stick because they [North Korea] have not done anything to warrant getting rid of the sanctions yet."
Responding to those claims, Strzhizhovsky said that the issue of banking sanctions against North Korea was raised at the meeting only as part of a broader humanitarian context.
"During today’s consultations, the issue of banking sanctions against North Korea was mentioned only in the context of ensuring the activity of UN humanitarian agencies in this country," he said.
Russia and China have repeatedly spoken out in favor of gradually easing UN sanctions against North Korea.
In December last year, UN Security Council adopted a resolution that imposed tougher sanctions on North Korea after Pyongyang's missile test. The document envisaged new restrictions on supplying oil and oil products and demanded that all countries deport North Korean labor migrants in the next 24 months. The resolution also envisages restrictions on delivering industrial equipment, heavy equipment and transport to North Korea.