EU im­poses sanc­tions on Venezue­lan and North Korean of­fi­cials

The Star (St. Lucia) - Business Week - - FRONT PAGE - BY FT COR­RE­SPON­DENT

The EU has im­posed travel bans and as­set freezes on top Venezue­lan gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and North Korean diplo­mats ac­cused of break­ing sanc­tions across Africa and Asia.

The EU has im­posed travel bans and as­set freezes on top Venezue­lan gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and North Korean diplo­mats ac­cused of break­ing sanc­tions across Africa and Asia.

The mea­sures on Venezuela are the first by the EU against in­di­vid­u­als in­volved in that coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal cri­sis, while the scope of the North Korea tar­gets is a sign of grow­ing western ef­forts to cut off funds to Kim Jong Un’s regime.

For­eign min­is­ters from the 28-mem­ber EU signed off the sanc­tions at a meet­ing in Brus­sels on Mon­day in the union’s lat­est ef­forts to im­pose it­self as a force in in­ter­na­tional crises.

The Eu­ro­pean states have listed seven Venezue­lan of­fi­cials they ac­cuse of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions and “non­re­spect of demo­cratic prin­ci­ples or the rule of law”. Pres­i­dent Ni­colás Maduro’s gov­ern­ment has cracked down on op­po­nents, with hu­man rights groups claim­ing that se­cu­rity forces have as­phyx­i­ated, elec­tro­cuted and sex­u­ally abused pris­on­ers. Last month Mr Maduro sug­gested ban­ning the main op­po­si­tion par­ties from this year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. The EU’s tar­gets in­clude Nés­tor Luis Reverol Tor­res, in­te­rior min­is­ter, Gus­tavo Enrique González López, head of the na­tional in­tel­li­gence ser­vice, and An­to­nio José Be­na­vides Tor­res, for­mer head of the na­tional guard. Also on the list are le­gal and elec­toral of­fi­cials ac­cused of fa­cil­i­tat­ing poli­cies that un­der­mined democ­racy and the rule of law.

The mea­sures come af­ter the EU im­posed an arms em­bargo on Venezuela in Novem­ber, as well as a ban on the sale of equip­ment for in­ter­nal re­pres­sion. The Eu­ro­pean states have also added 17 peo­ple to an ex­pand­ing North Korea sanc­tions list that now runs to 68 in­di­vid­u­als and en­ti­ties, in ad­di­tion to 133 listed by the UN.

The union said it was im­pos­ing the mea­sures to press North Korea be­cause of its “con­tin­ued and ac­cel­er­ated de­vel­op­ment of nu­clear and bal­lis­tic pro­grammes” in “fla­grant dis­re­gard” of UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions. The of­fi­cials tar­geted in­clude Chol Yun,

Mr Chol was al­legedly in­volved in the sale of Lithium-6, a nu­clear-re­lated ma­te­rial pro­hib­ited by the UN, while Son Young-Nam, who is based at the North Korean em­bassy in Bangladesh, is ac­cused of in­volve­ment in the smug­gling of gold and other banned items

third sec­re­tary at the North Korean em­bassy in China, as well as Py­ongyang diplo­mats in Bangladesh, An­gola, South Africa and Egypt.

Mr Chol was al­legedly in­volved in the sale of Lithium-6, a nu­clear-re­lated ma­te­rial pro­hib­ited by the UN, while Son Young-Nam, who is based at the North Korean em­bassy in Bangladesh, is ac­cused of in­volve­ment in the smug­gling of gold and other banned items. An­other diplo­mat is ac­cused of ac­tiv­i­ties re­lat­ing to the sale of North Korean coal in Malaysia.

In Africa, sev­eral in­di­vid­u­als are ac­cused of as­sist­ing eva­sion of sanc­tions by try­ing to sell arms and re­lated ma­te­rial to Eritrea.

Choe Kwang Su, third sec­re­tary to the North Korean em­bassy in South Africa, is ac­cused of sign­ing a con­tract to sup­ply arms and arms-re­lated ma­te­rial to a com­pany con­trolled by the Mozam­bi­can gov­ern­ment. Py­ongyang’s en­voy in An­gola is ac­cused of ne­go­ti­at­ing con­tracts for a UN-sanc­tioned com­pany to re­fur­bish An­golan naval ves­sels.

The EU has ac­cused Pres­i­dent Ni­colás Maduro of Venezuela of ‘non-re­spect of demo­cratic prin­ci­ples’

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