U.N. delays vote on tough new North Korea sanctions at Russia’s request

A U.N. Security Council vote on a resolution to dramatically expand sanctions on North Korea after its recent nuclear test and satellite launch has been delayed to Wednesday after Russia negotiated changes in the U.S.-Chinese drafted text.

Last week the United States presented the 15-nation council with the draft resolution that would significantly tighten restrictions after the Jan. 6 nuclear test and Feb. 7 rocket launch, to create what it described as the toughest U.N. sanctions regime in two decades.

The vote, first scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, is now planned for 10 a.m. (1500 GMT) on Wednesday, the council said.

The U.S. mission to the United Nations said in a statement the vote was rescheduled after “Russia invoked a procedural 24-hour review of the resolution.”

Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters “it’s a resolution which is necessary, which the Security Council needs to adopt because of the certain challenges coming from DPRK (North Korea).”

“We did have a few issues to take care of and we discussed them with the U.S. delegation and I think they accommodated some of our concerns,” he said. “Have they accommodated all of our concerns? Not entirely.”

After nearly two months of bilateral negotiations that at one point involved U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, China agreed to support the unusually tough measures intended to persuade its close ally North Korea to abandon its atomic weapons program.

North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 because of its four nuclear tests and multiple rocket launches.

The expanded sanctions, if adopted, would require inspections of all cargo going to and from North Korea and blacklisting North Koreans active in Syria, Iran and Vietnam.

 

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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