September 13, 2018 / 10:09 PM / 2 months ago

U.S. accuses Russia of covering up breaches of North Korea sanctions

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Moscow on Thursday of seeking to cover up breaches of U.N. sanctions on North Korea by Russians after it pushed for changes to an independent report on sanctions violations.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley delivers remarks to the press together with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (not pictured), announcing the U.S.'s withdrawal from the U.N's Human Rights Council at the Department of State in Washington, U.S., June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Toya Sarno Jordan/File Photo

The U.N. Security Council will meet on Monday over the implementation of sanctions on North Korea at the request of Washington, the U.S. mission to the United Nations said.

The report, submitted to the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee last month, said Pyongyang had not stopped its nuclear and missile programs and was violating U.N. sanctions on exports.

Diplomats said Russia pressured the independent sanctions monitors to amend the report. The Security Council has to agree by consensus on whether to publish the report and the United States objected to releasing the amended document.

“Russia can’t be allowed to edit and obstruct independent U.N. reports on North Korea sanctions just because they don’t like what they say. Period,” Haley said in a statement. “The full implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions remains mandatory for all member states – including Russia.”

The Russian mission to the United Nations and the chair of the independent panel of U.N. sanctions monitors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The amended report removed some references to Russians accused of breaching sanctions on North Korea, said one diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Russia and China have suggested the Security Council discuss easing sanctions after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in June and Kim pledged to work towards denuclearisation.

The United States and other council members have said there must be strict enforcement of sanctions until Pyongyang acts.

Washington on Thursday imposed sanctions on a China-based tech firm, its North Korean chief executive and a Russian subsidiary, accusing them of moving illicit funding to North Korea in violation of U.S. sanctions.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney

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