Russia makes U-turn, joins UN sanctions against N.Korea
MOSCOW, May 30 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has agreed to impose UN sanctions on North Korea following its nuclear bomb test last October, the Kremlin Web site said Wednesday.
President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Sunday prohibiting Russian state and government agencies, industrial, commercial, financial and transport companies, and enterprises, firms and banks from exporting or transiting military hardware, equipment, materials, or know-how which could be used in the Communist state's nuclear or non-nuclear weapons programs.
It also prohibits any financial operations with legal entities or individuals who have been identified by the UN as being directly or indirectly involved in North Korea's nuclear arms program.
This marks a U-turn on Russia's previous position. Earlier this year, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov said that sanctions against North Korea must be lifted.
North Korea agreed to stop its nuclear reactor and give International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors access to the country in a six-party agreement on February 13 after boycotting disarmament talks with China, the U.S., South Korea, Russia and Japan for more than a year.
It has pledged that it will fulfill its February commitments with the five countries involved in a protracted nuclear dispute, as soon as it receives funds frozen in a Macao bank.
North Korea's $25 million deposited in Banco Delta Asia was unfrozen in March in an attempt to win Pyongyang's promise to close its nuclear reactor. But the fund transfer has been stalled, and in response the Communist regime has delayed shutting down its Yongbyon reactor expected in April.
The impoverished state has been cut off from global financial markets for several years and has used cash or complicated barter schemes to pay for supplies and services from other countries.
The North Korean BDA accounts were frozen in October 2005 at the request of the United States, which accused the regime of counterfeiting and money laundering. Washington also blacklisted the Macao bank earlier this year, making other banks wary of handling Korean funds and dealing with the BDA.
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