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UAE follows U.S. lead, severs ties with N. Korea

Reuters DUBAI (Reuters) — The United Arab Emirates is ending the mission of North Korea’s nonresident ambassador and terminating its own envoy’s services in Pyongyang, its Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday carried by state news agency WAM.

The UAE will also stop issuing new visas or company licenses to North Korean citizens, WAM said.

Several thousand North Korean workers reside in the U.S-allied Gulf region, mainly working on construction sites.

“The measures ... come within the context of [the UAE’s] obligation as a responsible member of the international community to strengthen the international will and to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and missile programs,” the Foreign Ministry said.

In Washington, the U.S. State Department welcomed the UAE’s decision.

“Very happy to hear that,” State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said. “There are many countries that are taking those steps that we have asked [them] to take.”

The UAE announcement follows similar moves by the Gulf Arab neighbors Qatar and Kuwait, which last month downgraded their ties with Pyongyang and ceased issuing new visas to North Korean citizens.Speech

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