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U.S. imposes sanctions on Turkey company, North Korean for weapons trade

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions against a Turkish-based company and a North Korean diplomat based in Mongolia, accusing them of trading in weapons and luxury goods with Pyongyang in violation of international sanctions.

The U.S. Treasury said in a statement that SIA Falcon International Group, which also has a branch in Latvia, would be blacklisted for exporting weapons into or from North Korea. It also designated SIA Falcon Chief Executive Huseyin Sahin and its general manager, Erhan Culha, for violating the sanctions against North Korea.

Additionally, the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on Ri Song Un, the economic and commercial counselor at North Korea’s embassy in Mongolia. It said SIA Falcon officials hosted Ri earlier this year in Turkey to negotiate weapons deals with him.

The move comes as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo heads to Pyongyang on Sunday for talks with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un on ending the country’s nuclear and missile programs.

SIA Falcon International Group and individuals acting on its behalf are blatantly attempting to flout longstanding UN sanctions on trade in weapons and luxury goods with North Korea,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Bill Berkrot)

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