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Saturday, November 18, 2006

French authorities inspect North Korean ship in Indian Ocean

Authorities in the French Indian Ocean territory of Mayotte are carrying out a "complete and thorough" inspection of a North Korean ship under sanctions adopted against Pyongyang, the foreign ministry said.

"The customs services are currently proceeding with the complete and thorough examination of the cargo and crew of a North Korean ship which called at Mayotte," spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said Thursday.

He said the inspection was being carried out under UN Security Council Resolution 1718 declaring an arms embargo on North Korea in the wake of its October 9 nuclear test.

"We particularly exercise vigilance towards cargo transported by North Korean ships, as well as those coming from or going to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)," he said.

"France immediately took restrictive measures regarding the DPRK on visas and bilateral cooperation" after the nuclear test, Mattei said.

"This inspection shows France's determination in the area of surveillance of proliferation activities," added a French diplomat, requesting anonymity.

"This applies to North Korea as well as to other countries."

The diplomat said that the inspection of the North Korean freighter could last "a very long time".

Neither gave details of the vessel or its cargo.

The French foreign ministry underlined that the European Union was soon due to adopt a "common position" on restrictive measures being taken against North Korea.

Mayotte is the only island of the Comores archipelago that remained French after the former colony gained independence in 1975
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