U.N. adopts guidelines to ease humanitarian aid to N. Korea: reports
The United Nations Security Council on Monday adopted guidelines to ease the provision of humanitarian aid to North Korea in the face of crippling sanctions against the regime, news reports said.
The guidelines were proposed by the United States last month as international aid groups complained of bureaucratic obstacles caused by the sanctions over North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, the AFP reported.
A Security Council committee that monitors sanctions on North Korea said none of the 15 council members objected to the plan, and it would be circulated among all 193 U.N. member states, according to the AP.
The U.N. estimates that nearly half of North Korea's population -- some 10 million people -- are in need of food. The country also faces a shortage of medical supplies.
The guidelines are designed to expedite the process of winning the committee's exemption to provide aid to the North. They recommend that governments and nongovernmental organizations submit their requests in a letter with 10 elements, including a description of the items to be delivered and assurances the goods will be used for their intended purposes.
"We are glad that the Security Council agreed on the guidelines, and we hope they provide clarity on delivering humanitarian aid to the North Korean people without violating the sanctions," the Netherlands' deputy ambassador to the U.N., Lise Gregoire-van Haaren, was quoted as saying. "Our ultimate goal is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and the sanctions are very important to that end."
The Netherlands currently chairs the sanctions committee.
Last year's sanctions on North Korea allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid while imposing strict restrictions on its imports of fuel and exports of goods and labor that generate revenue for the regime's weapons of mass destruction programs.
The U.S. maintains that all sanctions on North Korea must remain in place until the full dismantlement of its nuclear program, a commitment made by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at his historic summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in June.
Source: Yonhap News Agency