Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Russia signals backing for new U.N. sanctions on North Korea

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is ready to back a draft U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution against North Korea over its third nuclear test if it focuses solely on Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, a senior diplomat said on Tuesday.

U.N. envoys say the United States and China have struck a tentative deal on a draft resolution to punish North Korea over the test.

"It (the draft) will be acceptable to us if the restrictive measures do not go beyond the boundaries of missile and nuclear issues," Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as saying.

Russia, which holds the presidency of the 15-nation Security Council this month and is one of five veto-wielding permanent members, was due to convene consultations on North Korea at the United Nations later on Tuesday, the U.N. press office said.

Security Council diplomats have said they would like to strengthen the provisions in previous sanctions resolutions adopted after North Korea's 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests, above all those related to the inspection and seizure of shipments of banned items and toughening financial restrictions.

North Korea's neighbor China has criticized the nuclear tests and said the council should respond "appropriately". China's Foreign Ministry did not confirm it had reached a deal with the United States.

(Reporting by Thomas Grove, Editing by Timothy Heritage)


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