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UAE seizes ‘N Korea arms shipment’ sailing to Iran
BayBak, Azerbaijan | 1365 days ago | Saturday, 29th August , 2009 , 02:47 [am] | Azerbaijan
|.|| The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has seized a cargo of North Korean weapons being shipped to Iran, which would have violated a UN embargo on arms exports from the communist state, Western diplomats have said.
The UAE reported the incident, which occurred two weeks ago, to the Security Council sanctions committee on North Korea, Diplomats said on
According to Aljazeera, The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has seized a cargo of North Korean weapons being shipped to Iran, which would have violated a UN embargo on arms exports from the communist state, Western diplomats have said.
The UAE reported the incident, which occurred two weeks ago, to the Security Council sanctions committee on North Korea, Diplomats said on Friday.
The committee sent letters to Tehran and Pyongyang on August 25 informing them of the seizure and demanding a response within 15 days.
The weapons seized on August 14 included rocket launchers, detonators, munitions and ammunition for rocket-propelled grenades, they said.
The ship, called the ANL-Australia, was Australian-owned and flying a Bahamas flag.
“Based on past experience … we don’t expect a very detailed response,” one of the diplomats said on condition of anonymity.
The diplomats said the Australian firm whose ship was seized is controlled by a French conglomerate and the actual export was arranged by the Shanghai office of an Italian company.
The diplomats did not name any of the firms involved.
“The cargo was deceptively labeled,” said a diplomat “The cargo manifest said that the ship contained oil boring machines. But then you opened it up and you found these arms.”
The UAE mission to the United Nations declined comment on the case.
Diplomats said both North Korea and Iran appeared to be in breach of Security Council resolution 1874, which banned all arms exports from North Korea and authorised states to search suspicious ships and seize and destroy banned items.
The resolution was imposed after North Korea’s second nuclear test in May.
Balbina Hwang, a former state department advisor for Asia, told Al Jazeera that the seizure was significant because it was the first incident since the UN resolution within the Middle East region.
“First, I think that it’s a very important indication that countries within the Middle East are willing to support the UN and the international community regarding an issue that some have tried to make as regional issue, in other words, the North Korea nuclear issue, so this is a very important step in enforcing international agreements and sanctions.” Hwang said.
“It’s still unclear as to what parts of these goods that were seized are in fact violations of the UN sanctions. If, as reported, they are small arms, in fact there are small loopholes that are written into the resolution and so it actually shows some of the challenges and the weaknesses of the effectiveness of international sanctions.
“As soon as UN resolution 1874 was announced, North Korea immediately reacted belligerently by stating that they would not accept these sanctions and any future effort to enforce these sanctions by the international community would have taken by North Korea as an act of war.
“That was an extremely aggressive reaction from them and one would expect that Iran would react strongly if there were reports that portions of goods destined for Iran were seized and yet we have not heard any negative reaction publicly from either one of these governments.” She said.
The council imposed sanctions on Pyongyang after its first test in October 2006, but the measures were never enforced, mainly because China showed no interest in seeing them implemented.
Diplomats said the UAE seizure, which was done on the basis of the country’s own intelligence reports, was an important success for the beefed-up North Korean sanctions regime and would hopefully deter further attempts at skirting sanctions.
Tehran has also been punished with three rounds of UN sanctions for its nuclear programme, which Western powers fear is aimed at producing atomic weapons.
Iran says it has a peaceful atomic programme that will generate electricity, not bombs., Voice of a Nation