Allies Seeking New Ways to Enforce North Korea Sanctions, US Envoy to UN Says 

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield (C) leaves the foreign ministry in Seoul, South Korea, 15 April 2024, following talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul. (EPA/Yonhap South Korea)
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield (C) leaves the foreign ministry in Seoul, South Korea, 15 April 2024, following talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul. (EPA/Yonhap South Korea)
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Allies Seeking New Ways to Enforce North Korea Sanctions, US Envoy to UN Says 

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield (C) leaves the foreign ministry in Seoul, South Korea, 15 April 2024, following talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul. (EPA/Yonhap South Korea)
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield (C) leaves the foreign ministry in Seoul, South Korea, 15 April 2024, following talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul. (EPA/Yonhap South Korea)

Washington and allies are looking for new avenues to enforce Security Council sanctions against North Korea, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Monday, amid concerns Pyongyang may now be more emboldened to advance its weapons program.

Russia last month vetoed the annual renewal of a panel of experts that monitor the enforcement of Security Council resolutions against North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Thomas-Greenfield is in Seoul and will also visit Japan meant to advance bilateral and trilateral cooperation on the sanctions and beyond, US mission to the UN spokesperson Nate Evans said.

Washington, Seoul and Tokyo criticized Russia's veto and China's abstention, which experts said would undermine the sanctions enforcement, with a South Korean envoy likening it to "destroying a CCTV to avoid being caught red-handed".

Meeting with South Korea's defense minister, Thomas-Greenfield said the end of the panel's work creates a vacuum in the enforcement of sanctions against Pyongyang and that this could provide an opportunity to further advance its nuclear and missile programs, the ministry said in a statement.

She said the United States is working on alternatives ways to drawing up reliable reports on sanctions enforcement and looks forward to cooperation from allies including South Korea, the ministry said.

Russia has said the experts' work was neither objective nor impartial, and that they had turned into a tool of the West. The panel had worked on monitoring the enforcement of sanctions against the North over the past 15 years.

Russia's veto came after ties between Moscow and Pyongyang after their leaders met in September. Pyongyang has been accused of supply arms to Moscow that are being used in its war in Ukraine.



Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
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Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo

Sweden's domestic security agency on Thursday accused Iran of using established criminal networks in Sweden as a proxy to target Israeli or Jewish interests in the Scandinavian country.
The accusations were raised at a news conference by Daniel Stenling, the head of the SAPO agency's counterespionage unit, following a series of events earlier this year.
In late January, the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm was sealed off after what was then described as “a dangerous object” was found on the grounds of the diplomatic mission in an eastern Stockholm neighborhood. Swedish media said the object was a hand grenade.
The embassy was not evacuated and the object was eventually destroyed. No arrests were made and authorities did not say what was found. On May 17, gunshots were heard near the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm and the area was cordoned off. No one was arrested.
According to The Associated Press, Stenling said, without offering specifics or evidence to back up his assertion, that the agency "can establish that criminal networks in Sweden are used as a proxy by Iran.”
“It is very much about planning and attempts to carry out attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests, goals and activities in Sweden," he said and added that the agency sees "connections between criminal individuals in the criminal networks and individuals who are connected to the Iranian security services.”
Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer and Hampus Nygårds, deputy head of the Swedish police's National Operations Department, were also at the online news conference with Stenling.
“We see this connection between the Iranian intelligence services, the security services and precisely criminals in the criminal networks in Sweden," Stenling said. “We see that connection and it also means that we need to work much more internationally to get to the crimes and be able to prevent them.”
Stenling and the others made no mention of the recent incidents connected to the Israel Embassy and stopped short of naming any criminal groups or suspects.
Sweden has grappled with gang violence for years and criminal gangs often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out hits.
By May 15, police have recorded 85 shootings so far this year, including 12 fatal shootings. Last year, 53 people were killed and 109 were wounded in a total of 363 shootings.