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Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Naguib reportedly stops service in DPRK, prepares for full withdrawal

Naguib pulling out of North Korea? Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding (OTMT) reportedly stopped its service in North Korea early last month and is preparing for a full withdrawal from the country, the Korea Times reports, citing sources. Japanese intelligence officials and industry sources say OTMT “has decided to pull its network out of the North completely amid mounting pressure from the United States and the U.N. Security Council.” As recently as September, Chairman Naguib Sawiris was saying he has no plans to divest from North Korea, even though OTMT effectively lost control of its subsidiary there Koryolink in late 2015. Koryolink was established in 2008 as North Korea’s only 3G mobile phone network with OTMT reportedly controlling a 75% stake of the venture. “The media report noted the Egyptian company has yet to officially announce its decision to withdraw from the North, as some procedures need more time to be handled smoothly,” the story adds.

Naguib’s presence in North Korea came under the spotlight after Egypt’s ties to the DPRK were reportedly a factor in Washington’s decision earlier this year to freeze and cut aid to Egypt. Naguib said at the time that he had no plans to divest. Subsequent coverage of Egypt’s trade and arms relationships with North Korea saw Cairo quietly signal that it was backing away from its decades-long relationship with Pyonyang.

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