22:01 GMT28 February 2021
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    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - Russia has held up the publication of a report on North Korea by a UN Security Council independent panel over differences about its contents, Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia said Thursday.

    “We put on hold the report of 1718 Committee because we disagree with certain elements of the report, with the conduit of the business itself," he told reporters in New York City.

    He said he could not divulge details of the confidential draft compiled by the UN Security Council’s 1718 Sanctions Committee but said member states were concerned about repeated Internet leaks.

    “We and other delegations expressed concern about regular leaks of the Committee information to the press. You can look it up on the Internet. We requested to investigate it through the Committee but some members are not very willing to do so,” Nebenzia added.

    Karen Pierce, the British envoy to the UN who holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council, said afterwards the panel would convene for informal talks on Friday. She stressed that getting the report out was an important step in enforcing sanctions against North Korea.

    “We weren’t able to resolve the immediate issue. The immediate issue is that the Russians object to some elements of the panel of experts’ report,” she said. “We have agreed that there will be some informal consultations tonight and tomorrow morning.”

    The official said the panel would try to “elicit what it is what the Russians object to,” but she added it was very important to publish the report, which will assess sanctions measures against North Korea.

    "The overriding point is that we must have that report published. It must go to the UN membership. The Council has been very strong on enforcing DPRK sanctions and getting this report out and implemented is the next step in enforcing the sanctions," she stressed.

    North Korea has faced several rounds of UN sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile tests, conducted in violation of UNSC resolutions. The restrictions targeted exports of coal, iron ore, lead and seafood from the Asian nation to UN member states. In December, new sanctions against North Korea were imposed over the country's continuing missile tests.

    READ MORE: North Korea Urges US to Drop Sanctions After Showing Good Faith

    However, the situation on the Korean peninsula has significantly improved over the last months, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un holding two summits with his South Korean counterpart in Spring, and signing an agreement, envisaging Pyongang's denuclearization in exchange for US-South Korean military drills freeze and eventual US sanctions relief, with US President Donald Trump on June 12.

    Last week, spokesman for the South Korean presidential office Kim Eui-kyeom refuted claims that the inter-Korean liaison office in the North Korean town of Kaesong was somehow violating the UN sanctions against North Korea. The decision to open the liaison office was made in April at the summit of South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

    In early August, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono have agreed that it was necessary to continue implementing UNSC resolutions, which impose sanctions on North Korea. In turn, Kim Jong-un has slammed maintenance of the pressure against Pyongyang by the US and UN as "brigandish sanctions and blockade."

    READ MORE: US Failing to Keep Up Its End of North Korea Bargain


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