North Korea’s ambassador to Egypt has not, and seemingly will not be deported from the country following his listing as part of U.S. sanctions against North Korea, Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Tuesday.
The Egyptian government, when asked about plans for the possible deportation of Ambassador Pak Chun Il were vague on whether or not they would consider the move, despite several reports indicating this would be the case.
“We have not deported any diplomats from the North Korean embassy,” MFA spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid told NK News.
When pressed on whether or not there were plans to deport Pak, a non-committal response was issued.
“No … in general we abide with the UN Security Council resolutions regarding sanctions and if there is anyone related to that (list),” Abu Zheid said.
Pak was named a sanctioned individual by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on March 3.
According to the OFAC statement accompanying the listing, Pak was sanctioned as he “provides support to North Korea’s Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID).”
KOMID has been identified as North Korea’s primary weapons exporter and has operated under several aliases including Green Pine Associated Corporation.
Pak was listed by OFAC pursuant to Executive Order 13687 signed by U.S. President Barack Obama on January 6, 2015.
Recent reports that Pak was listed in the latest round of United Nations sanctions in Resolution 2270 and would therefore be required to be deported are incorrect.
Neither Pak, nor any other North Korean national residing in Egypt, was designated in Resolution 2270 and so therefore UN member states are not required to deport Pak pursuant to Paragraph 13 of the resolution.
“As long as the individual in question is not on a UN consolidated sanctions list then Egypt is not legally compelled to expel that individual,” former UN Panel of Experts member, William Newcombe, told NK News.
“The country is, however, allowed to expel them should it have reason to believe that person is operating on behalf of designated entity, the U.S. could brief Egypt on evidence and put quiet pressure on it to act,” he added.
Despite the lack of legal compulsion to do so several media outlets, including Radio Free Asia (RFA), have said that Pak’s deportation was believed to be expected and imminent.
Another North Korean national, Ri Won Ho, was designated by OFAC on March 16 for being an official of the DPRK’s Ministry of State Security in Egypt and another KOMID facilitator in the country. RFA recently reported that Ri had indeed been expelled.
When NK News sought further details from the Egyptian government on other designated individuals, a similar response was issued.
“In general I have responded to your question that we have not deported anybody,” Abu Zheid said.
“I am not aware of anybody (else) at this time,” when pressed on the status of Ri.
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Featured Image: Tráfico nocturno en El Cairo by guillenperez on 2009-05-08 18:27:18