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UNDP Suspends Operations in North Korea

The U.N. Development Program has suspended operations in North Korea, following U.S. allegations the agency allowed Pyongyang to use humanitarian aid money for government purposes.

The UNDP says on its Web site that as of March 1 it has no choice but to suspend its operations in North Korea, because conditions set out by an executive board in January have not been met.

The board had demanded the UNDP in North Korea end all hard currency payments to Pyongyang and stop sub-contracting local staff through government recruitment.

In January, the UNDP suspended its three-year, $18 million budget for North Korea, pending an investigation into how its money was being used.

Washington had expressed concern that millions of dollars meant to help North Korean citizens might instead have been used to develop nuclear weapons.

The U.N. Development Program operates 20 projects in North Korea. Over the past decade, it has funded about $3 million a year in development activities there.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.