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Sri Lanka denies UN report that it broke sanctions on North Korea

The Sri Lankan government has issued a statement denying that it broke international sanctions on North Korea, as claimed in a United Nations report last week.

The report, written by a group of independent experts examining the implementation of UN sanctions and submitted to the Security Council, accused Sri Lanka of continuing to accept imports of North Korean textiles.

“In keeping with Sri Lanka's international obligations as a member of the United Nations, the Government of Sri Lanka abides by the provisions of the UN Security Council Resolutions in relation to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea,” said a Sri Lankan government statement.

“Sri Lanka cooperates closely with the UN Security Council Panel of Experts (PoE) for the implementation of the respective Resolutions, and provides responses to questions raised by the PoE from time to time.”

The statement went on to claim that there were instances where “the country of export had been selected inadvertently as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, instead of the Republic of Korea” at Sri Lankan customs. “Having clarified this inadvertent error to the PoE, the Sri Lanka Customs has now initiated a mechanism to prevent repetition of such errors in the future,” it added.

Pyongyang was also accused of violating a textile ban and exporting more than $100 million in goods to countries including Sri Lanka between October 2017 and March 2018.

“We expect the Russians and all countries to abide to the UN Security Council resolutions and enforce sanctions on North Korea,” said Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state.