Skip to main content

UAE seizes N. Korean arms bound for Iran, diplomats say

  • Story Highlights
  • Seizure thought to be first case of disguised cargo confiscated under U.N. sanctions
  • Cargo: RPGs, fuses, ammo marked as oil-drilling equipment, diplomat says
  • Security Council committee will investigate the case, and cargo's convoluted history
  • Resolution in July imposed an embargo on N. Korean arms shipments
From Richard Roth
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The United Arab Emirates has seized a ship believed to be carrying North Korean weapons to Iran in what is believed to be first case of disguised cargo confiscated under tightened U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang, diplomats said Friday.

The freighter AML Australia was carrying rocket-propelled grenades, fuses and ammunition in boxes marked as oil-drilling equipment, according to a Security Council diplomat who insisted on anonymity. Authorities in the UAE reported the find to the Security Council earlier this month under sanctions imposed after a North Korean nuclear weapons test in May.

The Security Council's sanctions committee will investigate the matter and the convoluted history of the cargo, which was aboard a vessel owned by an Australian subsidiary of a French company, sailing under the Bahamian flag with material exported by an Italian company with offices in China.

But the seizure is a sign of a "new atmosphere" among U.N. members regarding sanctions, the diplomat said, expressing hope that a policy of "naming and shaming" would curtail North Korea's arms trafficking -- a key source of income for the reclusive communist state.

A U.N. resolution passed in July imposed an embargo on the shipment of arms from North Korea and broadened a ban on Pyongyang's import of weapons. The resolution followed North Korea's second nuclear test and the firing of six short-range rockets by the country in late May.

Under U.N. resolutions, the UAE was required to dispose of the seized weapons.

All About United Nations Security CouncilUnited Arab EmiratesNorth Korea

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print