U.S. Al­lowed N. Korea Arms Sale

Shipment to Ethiopia May Have Vi­o­lated U.N. Res­o­lu­tion

The Washington Post Sunday - - World News - By Glenn Kessler

The United States did not act to pre­vent a re­cent shipment of arms from North Korea to Ethiopia, even though sketchy intelligence in­di­cated the de­liv­ery might vi­o­late a U. N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion re­strict­ing North Korean arms sales, Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day.

The de­ci­sion to let the shipment pro­ceed was made by rel­a­tively low- level staffers, with lit­tle in­ter­nal de­bate, and it was un­known to top pol­i­cy­mak­ers in­volved in the cam­paign to pun­ish Py­ongyang for its test of a nu­clear weapon last Oc­to­ber, of­fi­cials said.

The Jan­uary arms de­liv­ery oc­curred as Ethiopia was fight­ing Is­lamic mili­tias in So­ma­lia, aid­ing U. S. poli­cies of com­bat­ing re­li­gious ex­trem­ists in the Horn of Africa.

Intelligence re­ports in­di­cated that the shipment in­cluded spare parts, in­clud­ing tank parts, of­fi­cials said. Nev­er­the­less, the cargo was not in­spected, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to know whether it vi­o­lated the U. N. res­o­lu­tion. The value of the shipment is also un­clear.

An in­ter­dic­tion of the shipment, de­liv­ered by a ship un­der the Ethiopian flag, was never se­ri­ously con­sid­ered, of­fi­cials said. Pol­icy im­pli­ca­tions were not raised to Cabi­net- level of­fi­cials or even to those at the as­sis­tant- sec­re­tary level.

The New York Times re­ported the arms shipment on its Web site yes­ter­day. State De­part­ment spokesman Sean McCor­mack de­clined to com­ment on the re­port but said, “ We are deeply com­mit­ted to up­hold­ing and en­forc­ing U. N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions.”

Ethiopia and other African coun­tries that rely on Soviet- era mil­i­tary equip­ment have long pur- chased in­ex­pen­sive spare parts from North Korea. The United States has sought to per­suade those coun­tries to end their re­la­tion­ships with Py­ongyang. Af­ter U. S. diplo­mats learned of the Jan­uary shipment, Ethiopian of­fi­cials pledged yet again to look for sup­pli­ers other than North Korea, U. S. of­fi­cials said.

The Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion has led a years- long cam­paign to choke off North Korea’s ac­cess to hard cur­rency by thwart­ing weapons sales and crack­ing down on its ex­ten­sive coun­ter­feit­ing op­er­a­tions.

North Korea re­cently agreed to shut down its nu­clear re­ac­tor, but only af­ter the United States ended an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a Ma­cau bank linked to money laun­der­ing and coun­ter­feit­ing op­er­a­tions. About $ 25 mil­lion in North Ko­re­alinked bank ac­counts was frozen be­cause of the probe, in­fu­ri­at­ing Py­ongyang.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.