Tanzanian Government denied to be part of violating sanctions imposed on North Korea as the relation between the country and agreement in improving security organs ceased since 2014.
Foreign Affairs minister Augustine Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister Augustine Mahiga assured to use the coming annual UN General Assembly in New York platform to clear doubt and tell the World that Tanzania had no further relationship with North Korea.
Addressing journalists in Dar es Salaam on Friday, Foreign Affairs minister Augustine Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Minister Augustine Mahiga said that according to the report received from United Nations Security Council the country was among the countries being investigated for alleged with military and security dealing with North Korea.
He said Tanzania has since stopped relations with North Korea because of the reclusive nation’s nuclear programme.
“We have even scaled down diplomatic relations to the minimum. We believe that nuclear arms are a threat to human existence,” Dr Mahiga said.
Mahiga is today travelling to the United Nations’ headquarters where he will meet with counterparts from the United States, United Kingdom and France over accusations levelled against Tanzania that it violated terms underlining international sanctions against North Korea.
Dr Mahiga is scheduled to attend the annual UN General Assembly next week before meeting with the three ministers to assure them that Tanzania had no further relationship with North Korea.
Furthermore, he said, he would make it clear that while Tanzania does not condone North Korea’s stance of continuing producing weapons of mass destruction, it was calling for peaceful dialogue to end enmity instead of use of threats.
The UN report was issued two days prior to the UN Security Council’s unanimous adoption of a tough new round of sanctions aimed at coercing North Korea into negotiations on its nuclear programme.
The eight-member panel said it was assessing information from an unnamed UN member-state indicating that Tanzania had entered into military-related contracts with a North Korean corporation valued at about $12.5 million.
The Haegeumgang Trading Corporation is said to be repairing and upgrading Tanzania’s surface-to-air missile systems and air defence radar. “The United Republic of Tanzania is yet to respond to the panel’s enquiries,” the UN investigators said.
Also under investigation, the report said, were the activities of a representative of the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation, who had travelled to Uganda from Syria.
In addition, the panel said it is looking into the role of the military attaché officer in the North Korean embassy in Kampala.
But according to Dr Mahiga, Tanzania, prior to the current sanctions, had been working with North Korea in areas such as diplomacy, politics, business and security.
The UN issued an order that countries, including Tanzania, should stop any association with the Asian nation, labelled by some quarters as a rogue state, of which Tanzania complied.
Dr Mahiga said they have received a letter from the UN Security Council on violations of the sanctions and that Tanzania will answer it immediately.
“It is my wish that our letter addressing the allegations reaches the UN before I arrive for the general assembly,” he said.
Dr Mahiga stressed that the UN report was wrong as Tanzania did not start new deals with North Korea after sanctions were passed by the UN.
He explained that prior to the sanctions Tanzania had deals with North Korea over military cooperation to improve its security system but this was halted since 2014 after Tanzania was asked to do so.
“Of course we had to end the association gradually because we already had contracts with the country, which, however, were not renewed upon expiry,” he stressed.
He added that Tanzania had contractual obligations with North Korea over military equipment it provided and the former had to finalise its payments despite having stopped association.
He further said that Tanzania has been requested to issue a report whether they were still using experts from North Korea, for which he said a report was currently being prepared to explain the status of relationship with the Asian nation.