UN Security Council postpones N. Korea sanctions vote to Wednesday

AFP , Tuesday 1 Mar 2016

-The UN Security Council has pushed back to Wednesday a vote on imposing a new raft of sanctions on North Korea, following a request from Russia, diplomats said.

The council had been set to vote later Tuesday, but the US mission to the United Nations said "Russia invoked a procedural 24-hour review of the resolution, so the vote will be on Wednesday."

Russia's UN mission declined to provide reasons for the delay, but spokesman Alexei Zaytsev said "we confirm that the vote will take place tomorrow" at 10:00 am (1500 GMT).

With backing from China, the council is expected to adopt a US-drafted resolution that takes aim at North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs by cutting off sources of hard currency and access to technology.

North Korea carried out is fourth nuclear test on January 6, which was followed by the launch on February 7 of a satellite-bearing rocket that the world viewed as a disguised ballistic missile test.

The resolution would require countries to take the unprecedented step of inspecting all cargo to and from North Korea, impose new trade restrictions and bar vessels suspected of carrying illegal goods for North Korea from ports.

It also provides for a ban on exports of coal, iron and iron ore from North Korea, except if that revenue is used for "livelihood purposes" and not to fund Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The resolution would also ban sales of gold, titanium and rare earth minerals from North Korea and would prohibit the supply of aviation fuel including rocket fuel to the reclusive country.

The United States presented the draft resolution to the council last week after reaching agreement with China, Pyongyang's sole ally and main benefactor whose role in implementing the resolution will be crucial.

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