Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

US Ambassador Accuses Russia of Failing to Stop Syrian Chemical Weapons Use

Not Released SEE CAPTION FOR MORE INFORMATION  South Korea OUT  REPUBLIC OF KOREA OUT--EDITORS NOTE- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE- MANDATORY CREDIT North Korea has been accused of selling chemical weapons materials to Syria
Jerome Frank | 02 March, 2018, 04:31

A leaked report from the United Nations sanctions panel says North Korea sent Syria missile specialists and over 40 items used in ballistic missile and chemical weapons programmes between 2012 and 2017.

Valves, acid resistant tiles and thermometers are among the items the country shipped to the Syrian government, it has been claimed. According to the reports, about 40 of such shipments were made between 2012 and 2017.

The report about North Korean ties with Syria comes amid accusations by the U.S. and other countries that Damascus has used chemical weapons on civilians - including the apparent chlorine gas attack in the capital's suburb of eastern Ghouta.

The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has opened an investigation into the latest reports of the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The U.N. has accused companies in China and Singapore of helping North Korea conduct worldwide trade in violation of sanctions. In addition, missile technicians from North Korea are known to have been present at Syrian chemical weapons and missile factories, the report states.

William Newcomb, who was chairman of the United Nations panel of experts on North Korea from 2011 to 2014, called the report "an important breakthrough". In November, Russia used its Security Council veto to end the work of an independent panel investigating chemical weapons used in the Syrian conflict.

More than 500 people have been killed since last week in eastern Ghouta, where activists on Sunday reported a suspected poison gas attack.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry noted that despite numerous claims and accusations against Damascus regarding the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, none of them has ever been proved to be true. However, Al Jazeera reported that the truce is being called "dishonest" as two more people have been killed after Syrian Government forces launched fresh attacks in the area.

The report - also seen by the Washington Post - was compiled by the UN Panel of Experts which assesses North Korea's compliance with UN resolutions.

Syrian government officials told United Nations investigators there are "no DPRK technical companies in Syria", and all North Koreans now present in the country are athletes and sports coaches.

The report revealed that some member-states seized goods that are believed to be part of a contract between the North Korean company KOMID and the interfaces of the Syrian Scientific Research Council.

Some details of the report have been released as fighting in the Ghouta area of Damascus has intensified and the number of civilian dead grows. After that, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed to destroy Syria's chemical weapons and his country joined the Chemical Weapons Convention.

While Myanmar told the panel in 2015 that it only had "normal diplomatic ties" with the DPRK, it reported on July 26, 2017 that it expelled Kim Chol Nam, a DPRK diplomat "for acting on behalf or at the direction of KOMID".

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