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Stung by sanctions scandal, Cuba defends North Korea at U.N.

Stung by sanctions scandal, Cuba defends North Korea at U.N.
UNITED NATIONS Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:25pm EST

(Reuters) – Cuba, which was involved in a violation of U.N. sanctions
against North Korea last year, has come to the aid of Pyongyang to
defend it against a Western-led push to bring its alleged
abuses to The Hague, envoys said on Wednesday.

A European-Japanese draft resolution submitted to a U.N. General
Assembly committee that covers human rights recommends the referral of
North Korea to the International Criminal Court for crimes against
humanity. That resolution is tentatively scheduled to go to a vote on
Nov. 18.

North Korea has lobbied at the United Nations for countries to oppose
the resolution, dismissing it as part of a U.S.-led political plot to
overthrow the country’s leadership using falsified human rights
criticism based on a U.N. inquiry report that alleged systematic
torture, starvation and killings.

Cuba, which like North Korea is a member of the 120-country bloc of
non-aligned states, has circulated to all 193 United Nations members an
amendment to the draft resolution that calls for deletion of the
language recommending that the Security Council consider referring
Pyongyang to the ICC.

Havana proposes language that would replace ICC issue, according to a
draft of the amendment obtained by Reuters: “Decides to adopt a new
cooperative approach for the consideration of the human rights in the
Democratic People´s Republic of Korea.”

Western diplomats said that it was likely both the -Japanese draft
resolution and Cuban amendment will go to a vote next week, and the
amendment has a chance of succeeding.

Cuba’s military cooperation with North Korea raised eyebrows last year
when the Chong Chon Gang ship was seized in Panama and found to be
carrying arms, including two MiG-21 jet fighters, hidden under thousands
of tonnes of Cuban sugar.

After the weapons were discovered, Cuba said it was sending “obsolete”
Soviet-era weapons to be repaired in North Korea and then returned to
Cuba. The Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee later
blacklisted the ship’s operator, Ocean Maritime Management, for
violating the U.N. arms .

Western diplomats said it was ironic that Cuba had taken up Pyongyang’s
defense at the United Nations.

“First the Cubans get caught red-handed violating Security Council
sanctions on North Korea, and now they are going to try to cover for
them in the Third Committee to water down the resolution on their human
rights abuses,” a U.N. diplomat said.

“But unlike the weapons stored in the well of the Chong Chon Gang, you
can’t sugar coat the atrocious human rights conditions in the DPRK
(North Korea),” he added.

Source: Stung by sanctions scandal, Cuba defends North Korea at U.N. |
Reuters –

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