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12 June 2009 - North Korea: Adoption of resolution 1874 - Remarks to the press by Mr. Jean-Maurice Ripert, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

I would like to tell you the satisfaction of France after the unanimous adoption by the Security Council of resolution 1874. We consider that the threat that was posed by North Korea through its activity in launching missiles using ballistic technology, through the nuclear test it has conducted was posing a real threat for peace and security, not only of the Korean peninsula, but also of the whole world.

The sanctions that we passed are strong, they send a very clear signal that the international community is not ready to accept what the North Korean authorities are trying to do. We are imposing sanctions only against the people, entities and goods which are related to nuclear activities. We are trying to preserve the future of the population of North Korea, which is already suffering a lot through the regime, which is in a very serious humanitarian situation.

We imposed, as you know, an embargo on the export of arms to suppress some financial resources for the military activities of North Korea. We are putting up a regime of inspection of cargoes to implement this embargo. We have financial sanctions. For the purpose of being sure that all the dispositions of this resolution are being implemented we are creating a panel of experts to assist Committee 1718 in the implementation of the sanctions. We think it’s a very clear signal.

At the same time, we are calling on the authorities of North Korea to join back the six-party talks. We think it is very important for them to rejoin the dialogue with the rests of the international community. It is never too late to be in a position to enjoy peaceful and secure relationship with your neighbours. They have to act in conformity with their own commitments, the commitments they have taken in the past. We also think that it is a very appropriate moment for them to come back and to try to stop definitely on a permanent basis the activities. We have to prepare for the negotiation of the regime of non-proliferation next year. We also think it’s important to have a further implementation of the CTBT and there will be a ministerial conference to that aim as you know in September in New York chaired by France and Morocco. So all together we think it is a very important moment for the Security Council - once again the decision was unanimous, no restriction of any kind and we hope that North Korea authorities will understand, listen to the signal, understand the signal and come back to a more peaceful behaviour.

Q: The Chinese Ambassador talked about the ship inspections and the need to be prudent and certainly not use force. How confident are you that China and other countries will implement this effectively and strongly?

A: We have full confidence in all the member states of the United Nations that they will implement this resolution. As for the inspections, the language which is used is very clear: if there is some information which is provided and gives reasonable grounds to believe that they are suspected cargo, the countries will first try to inspect with the consent of the flag state, if not, to direct the boat to a port so that it can be inspected. We have no reason to believe that China will not implement the resolution as all the other members of the United Nations.

Q: Reports that North Korea is preparing for another test whether nuclear or missile. What would that do to the Council-

A-I won’t comment on rumours. I will just tell you that we hope that the signal will be understood and the fact that all the members of the Security Council, including countries which are much closer to North Korea, like China for instance, are on board of this resolution, I hope that they will understand the signal and they will refrain from anymore dangerous and condemned activity.

Q: The resolution allows for sale of small arms and weapons to North Korea, there is an exclusion to allow that sale. Why is it in there and does France favour that?

A: - for light arms, some categories of arms. It was requested by some member states saying that what we want to achieve is not to have a full embargo against the country of North Korea, what we want to achieve is to cut the links that North Korea has to get some resources to fund its programs and its by exporting arms that they get some funding. So the important part of the reasoning was to stop the export of all those arms to cut their resources and their funding.

Q: Is there any discussion about the two journalists which have been arrested and now condemned to 12 years of hard labour? What does France think of that?

A: there were discussions all over the place at the United Nations but not in the Security Council. We were discussing the resolution. We of course strongly condemn the condemnation of those journalists.

Q: Some might see this as another step in the escalation of the conflict, measure counter-measure between the two sides. What do you say to that?

A: No, there are no "two sides". There is the behaviour of North Korea which has just been condemned unanimously by the Security Council on behalf of the whole international community. There is a behaviour which has been condemned, which is not acceptable, which is a clear violation of resolution 1718 and it’s not an escalation: it’s the latest attempt, an attempt to get North Korea to understand that there is no way out if they continue their behaviour.

Q: Another question on the ship inspections. It’s been made clear by several ambassadors that this will be done without force, whithout threat of course. How do you stop a North Korean ship carrying weapons if you don’t use any kind of threat or force?

A: That’s an interesting question. We will have to use as much persuasion as we can and the flag state has an obligation. If North Korea decides to go on and it’s their own flagships then they will clearly be in violation of the resolution and the Council, in our view, will have to decide how to react to that violation of the resolution. But let’s not foresee everything that will not work. We just passed a very important resolution, which is much more forward that the last one, 1718, which is creating a regime of sanctions which is very strong. So this is the message which we want to carry out to the world today.

Q: About the Georgia consultations given President Sarkozy’s role in it. Is there a resolution ready for vote Monday and does France believe that it should say "Abkhazia, Georgia", or how is that going to be resolved, what is your thinking?

A: There are talks going on now, as you know we had to spend a lot of time on North Korea, unfortunately we started discussing Georgia a bit late. There are very serious talks now among the group of friends of Georgia and we will continue those talks probably today, this morning and we hope to be in a position to circulate the text as soon as possible with the aim of adopting a new regime before the expiration of the resolution on Monday night.

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