Angola has deported dozens of North Korean workers from its territory, the country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs – Manual Augusto – said on Tuesday.
In a news article posted on the ministry’s website, Augusto is quoted as saying the move was in line with the country’s adherence to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions against North Korea.
“Angola, as it had in its territory some expatriates from North Korea, was compelled, in compliance with United Nations resolutions, to repatriate these elements of North Korea,” Augusto said.
“Angola does it in strict compliance with UN resolutions, in particular the sanctions applied to some companies and also affecting the company that works here in our country.”
The article posted in the press section of the MFA website is from the government-owned newspaper, the Jornal de Angola.
According to the report, a group of 50 North Koreans had left Luanda on Monday and followed a separate group of “dozens” of workers which departed the day prior.
UNSC Resolution 2375 prohibits member states from granting work authorizations for North Korean nationals though this does not apply to contracts already finalized prior to sanctions passed before September 11 this year.
However, regardless of the expulsion of North Korean workers due to the end of their contracts, the country was likely in breach of UNSC sanctions for not doing so sooner.
The report on the MFA website identified the individuals as workers from the North Korean company “Mansudae”.
The Mansudae Overseas Project Group of Companies was designated in Resolution 2371 in August and therefore ongoing operations in Angola, would constitute a breach of UN sanctions.
Mansudae has engaged in or were responsible for “the exportation of workers from the DPRK to other nations for construction-related activities including for statues and monuments to generate revenue for the Government of the DPRK or the Workers’ Party of Korea,” the UN said.
The North Korean company has a broad presence in African countries such as Angola, Botswana, Benin, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Madagascar, Namibia, Togo and Zimbabwe.
According to a 2017 report by the UN Panel of Experts (PoE) tasked with monitoring sanctions implementation, Angola confirmed Mansudae had been involved in the construction of statues and monuments and “continued to do business there”.
“Additionally, Angola confirmed that Mansudae had undertaken more than 56 construction projects until February 2015,” the report said. The Panel, during a mission to Angola in September of 2016 also confirmed Mansudae’s ongoing operations.
The PoE added Mansudae in Angola was majority owned by its Namibian branch, with the Angolan business registry showing that “90 percent of its shares” were held by Mansudae-Namibia.
Mansudae’s operations in Namibia have been involved in the construction of statues as well as government and military buildings.
“If Angola was aware that Mansudae was involved in the contract, the contract should have been terminated when Mansudae was designated by the UN in August,” Andrea Berger, a Senior Research Associate and a Senior Program Manager at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, told NK News.
“That said, Angola is not a country that has traditionally been very active in sanctions implementation, so maybe this is a gift horse we shouldn’t look in the mouth,” she added.
As of Thursday, Angola has only submitted one implementation report to the 1718 committee for Resolution 2270 in July of last year.
Member states are required to submit implementations report soon after the passage of UNSC resolutions and as yet Angola has not met this requirement.
North Korean and Angola have also cooperated on military and security issues on numerous occasions. This includes the use of North Korean training services for the Angolan Presidential Guard, in breach of Resolution 2270.
In April of 2016, only one month after the passage of Resolution 2270, Angola and North Korea held discussions regarding continued public security cooperation.
Angola has also been involved in the purchase of navy patrol boats from a sanctioned North Korean entity – Green Pine Associated – with the panel further identifying North Korean diplomats as representatives of the entity.
As recently as June, despite ongoing concerns regarding the bilateral relationship, North Korean and Angolan officials discussed the expansion of ties and cooperation in Lunda – including in the area of construction.
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