U.N. alarmed by N.Korea crisis, but aid staff still working

UNITED NATIONS Sat Apr 6, 2013 12:50am IST

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gestures during a news conference in Andorra, April 2, 2013. REUTERS/Albert Gea

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gestures during a news conference in Andorra, April 2, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Albert Gea

Related Topics

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is deeply alarmed at the rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, though United Nations humanitarian workers remain active across North Korea for the time being, a spokesman said on Friday.

"U.N. staff in the DPRK (North Korea) remain engaged in their humanitarian and developmental work throughout the country," said U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky. "The secretary-general remains deeply concerned about escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula."

The United Nations has 36 international staff and 21 locally recruited personnel working for seven different agencies and programs in that country, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said.

Nesirky said U.N. officials were at a meeting on Friday in Pyongyang during which North Korean officials asked foreign diplomats to consider moving staff out of their embassies and warned they could not guarantee their safety after April 10.

"The United Nations is studying the message and the United Nations will respond as appropriate," he said.

The North Korean message comes on the heels of declarations by the government of the secretive communist state that conflict is inevitable because of what it terms "hostile" U.S. troop exercises with South Korea and U.N. sanctions imposed over North Korea's nuclear weapons testing.

"There is a general need for things to calm down, for the volume to be turned down," Nesirky said in a conference broadcast in New York.

"It is really incumbent on the DPRK authorities to reduce the tension," he said. "It is after all the DPRK authorities that have made a number of statements in the recent days and indeed weeks that the secretary-general and others have said are alarming."

North Koreans suffer from chronic poverty and widespread hunger, U.N. officials say.

(Reporting By Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ukraine Crisis

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Pakistan Turmoil

Pakistan Turmoil

Pressure mounts on PM Nawaz Sharif to quit as protests continue  Full Article 

Missing Peacekeepers

Missing Peacekeepers

Fiji says no word on location of UN peacekeepers seized in Golan Heights  Full Article 

Hong Kong Democracy

Hong Kong Democracy

China slams door shut on full Hong Kong democracy in 2017 vote  Full Article 

US strikes IS

US strikes IS

U.S. planes strike militants near Iraq's Amerli, airdrop aid  Full Article 

Iceland Volcano

Iceland Volcano

New fissure eruption at Iceland volcano prompts highest aviation warning  Full Article 

Scotland Polls

Scotland Polls

Poll says Scotland will spurn independence, but are they right?  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage