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Moscow warns against strengthening North Korean sanctions

A diplomat says Russia is concerned about new US sanctions on North Korea

MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. Russia is concerned about new US sanctions on North Korea amid the emerged prospects to step up dialogue between Pyongyang and Seoul, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Monday.

"We are concerned that amid the emerged prospects of stepping up dialogue between Pyongyang and Seoul, when there was a halt caused by the Olympic Games, the US made a new move towards increasing pressure on North Korea," he said. "The declared American sanctions contain a whole number of alarming and troubling aspects."

The Russian deputy foreign minister said that this concerns the US unilateral measures on checking so-called suspicious cargoes. "This runs counter to the understanding that was earlier reached in collective formats, including within the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) in which we are also participating," he added.

"As for the re-emerging ideas of re-activating the UN Security Council resource to tighten the sanctions regime for Pyongyang, we confirm our position: the possibilities of further extending sanctions through the UN Security Council have been nearly exhausted," Ryabkov said. "The US is aware of it, and it was repeatedly discussed."

"We cannot repeat the situation again and again when after the countries agree on something in the UN Security Council and make corresponding decisions, the US bolsters unilateral section pressure immediately after that or after some period of time," the high-ranking diplomat stressed. "Can we speak about partnership at all here? This term cannot be applied to describe Washington’s behavior."