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Nikki Haley: Russia trying to corrupt UN officials to hide helping North Korea violate sanctions

Nikki Haley, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, voting at the Security Council Sept. 11, 2017. (Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/TNS)
September 18, 2018

The United States requested an urgent United Nations Security Council meeting after accusing Russia of undermining North Korea’s denuclearization.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley accused Russia of obstructing the release of an independent U.N. report, which outlines Russia’s violations of U.N. sanctions against North Korea, according to an official statement from the U.S. Mission to the U.N. released Thursday.

“Russia can’t be allowed to edit and obstruct independent U.N. reports on North Korea sanctions just because they don’t like what they say. Period. We’re disappointed in the Panel for caving to Russian pressure and making changes to what should be an independent report,” Haley said in the statement.

“This is a dangerous precedent and a stain on the important work of the Panel. We’ve seen the original report and we know the truth – the Panel should do the right thing and release it. The full implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions remains mandatory for all Member States – including Russia,” Haley noted.

“The report submitted to the Council was not the same independent report that was submitted to the U.N.’s North Korea sanctions committee last month. This version of the report was amended at the request of Russia,” the statement read.

“Russia pressured the Panel to alter its independent report, which included sanctions violations implicating Russian actors,” the statement said.

The U.N. Panel of Experts authored the report, which covered analysis and other information on U.N. member states’ implementation of the U.N. sanctions on North Korea.

Russia has been involved in helping North Korea import crude oil far above their authorized quota. In August, the U.S. Treasury implemented sanctions on companies based in Russia, China and Singapore for helping North Korea evade sanctions by rerouting oil shipments.

“It is the latest example of Russia covering up cases where it has been implicated in violating Security Council resolutions related to North Korea, including by blocking U.N. designations of Russian and Chinese companies, individuals, and ships involved in sanctions violations,” the statement continued.

The U.S. requested the urgent U.N. Security Council meeting on Friday, citing unnamed countries obstructing sanctions on North Korea as the reason. Russia was already speculated as being the member in question.

“Why after voting for sanctions 11 different times is Russia now backing away from them,” Haley asked at the meeting on Monday. “We know the answer. It’s because Russia has been cheating, and now, they’ve been caught. Despite its repeated support for U.N. sanctions, Russia is actively working to undermine the enforcement of Security Council sanctions on North Korea.”

Monday’s U.N. meeting concluded with most ambassadors in consensus that the report should be released to all member states, but a definitive solution was not specified.