Open briefing of the 1718 Committee
Statement by the Chair of the 1718 Committee, Karel J.G. van Oosterom,
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations
New York, 9 February 2018
Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006), its Panel of Experts, and the Secretariat, it is my pleasure to welcome you to this open briefing on Security Council sanctions regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
At the outset, I wish to pay tribute to my predecessor, Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi of Italy. Along with his team, he did excellent work during the past year chairing the 1718 Committee, including by holding similar briefings last February and October. I would also like to thank the Secretariat for its assistance in the organization of this briefing.
Last year, the DPRK continued its nuclear activities and ballistic missile launches in violation of multiple Security Council resolutions. In response, the Security Council held a number of urgent sessions to discuss the situation and unanimously adopted four resolutions in 2017. These resolutions significantly strengthened existing sanctions measures and established new ones. They also designated additional individuals and entities.
The DPRK sanctions regime is the most comprehensive - and most likely the most complicated - sanctions regime to date. This open briefing is intended to explain the sanctions measures introduced by the two latest resolutions, resolutions 2375 (2017) and 2397 (2017), adopted respectively in September and December 2017. We will focus on the sanctions measures laid down in both resolutions and the possible challenges in their implementation.
As Chair of the 1718 Committee, I wish to touch upon three points in my opening remarks:
- National implementation reports,
- The need for effective implementation of the sanctions measures, and
- Outreach and guidance.
The Coordinator of the Panel of Experts, Mr. Hugh Griffiths, will subsequently elaborate in more detail on the main features of resolutions 2375 (2017) and 2397 (2017) and the activities of the Panel.
I will then open the floor for questions and answers and encourage Member States to make full use of this opportunity to engage in an interactive discussion with the Panel of Experts.
NATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION REPORTS
Ladies and gentlemen,
Resolutions 2375 (2017) and 2397 (2017) have been widely publicized since their adoption. The resolutions state that Member States shall report within ninety days of their adoption on the concrete measures undertaken to effectively implement the sanctions measures. Until now, fifty-two Member States have submitted their national reports on the implementation of resolution 2375 (2017). The deadline for submission expired on 10 December of last year. One Member State submitted its report on the implementation of resolution 2397 (2017). The deadline for this submission is 22 March 2018.
In the past months, there has been significant increase in the submission rate of implementation reports. However, there is still a large number of Member States who have not yet submitted their reports. I would like to remind Member States of the importance of submitting these reports in a timely manner. Implementation reports play an important role in helping the Committee and its Panel of Experts assist Member States to fully implement the resolutions.
Yesterday, in my capacity of Chair of the 1718 Committee, I sent a note verbale to all Permanent Missions reminding Member States of their obligations in this regard as well as the upcoming deadline on 22 March 2018 for the submission of implementation reports on resolution 2397 (2017).
To make information on the preparation and submission of these reports more accessible to Member States, the Committee website has been updated. For those who are not familiar with the website or have difficulty finding it altogether, I can recommend searching for “1718 Committee” on the internet. This will lead you directly to the Committee website. On the screen above me you will see the main page. The website contains all relevant information, ranging from the resolutions and an overview of the measures, to press releases and implementation reports.
Member States who need guidance on the preparation and submission of their report are advised to visit the webpage named ‘implementation reports’. There you will find a consolidated table with submission deadlines, as well as the email address to send it to. I would also like to draw your attention to Implementation Assistance Notice #2. This document includes an optional checklist template, which can be helpful in providing the required information.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to stress that it is of crucial importance that the resolutions are fully implemented. For that purpose, it is necessary that both the 1718 Committee and the Member States take action to ensure compliance with the resolutions. In this regard, all Member States are required to supply to the Committee or the Panel, on a confidential basis if necessary, information at their disposal regarding any non-compliance with the sanctions measures regarding the DPRK. This is in addition to submitting national implementation reports in a timely manner.
I wish to stress that the ultimate goal of the sanctions is to facilitate the achievement of a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue. In this perspective the resolutions reaffirm the Council’s support to the Six Party Talks and calling for their resumption. They also reiterate the goal of the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner and the return of the DPRK to the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.
Finally, it should be underlined that the sanctions are not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of the DPRK. Nor are they intended to affect negatively or restrict activities, including economic activities and cooperation, food aid and humanitarian assistance, that are not prohibited by the resolutions.
In this context, I would like to draw the Member States’ attention to the press release issued by the 1718 Committee on 8 December of last year. The press release underlines the possibility of humanitarian exemptions if such an exemption is necessary to facilitate the work of international and NGO’s carrying out assistance and relief activities in the DPRK. The Committee may decide on such exemption requests on a case-by-case basis. The press release was issued to dispel any potential misunderstandings about the sanctions regime and to better facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the population of the DPRK. The press release can also be found on the Committee website, on the webpage ‘press releases’. I encourage all Member States to familiarize themselves with its content.
OUTREACH AND GUIDANCE
Ladies and gentlemen,
As Chair of the 1718 Committee, I will engage in outreach activities to foster a better understanding of the DPRK sanctions regime and the exchange of information with UN Member States on a regular basis.
As mandated by resolution 2321 (2016), the Committee intends to hold special meetings on important thematic and regional topics to address capacity challenges Member States face in the implementation of sanctions and to enable more effective implementation. In the spring, we intend to hold these regional outreach meetings in a similar format as last year.
The 1718 Committee also continues to provide guidance to Member States, international organizations and NGO’s on how to proceed when implementing sanctions. Requests for guidance can be submitted to the Committee Chair and the Secretariat, after which it will be brought to the attention of the Committee.
RESOLUTIONS 2375 (2017 AND 2397 (2017)
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let us now turn to the two latest resolutions. Given the length and complexity of the resolutions, I will ask the Coordinator of the Panel to focus on the main areas: (1) where it establishes new specific provisions on refined petroleum products; (2) where it clarifies and strengthens existing measures; and (3) where it introduces new measures.
On behalf of the 1718 Committee, I thank you for your kind attention. I now give the floor to the Coordinator of the Panel of Experts, Mr. Hugh Griffiths. Following his presentation, you will be given the opportunity to pose any questions that you may have.
Mr. Griffiths, the floor is yours.