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Panama authorities: Weapons shipment by North Korean vessel violates UN resolutions

August 29, 2013, 5:44 UTC+3
The North Korean ship had been stopped for a routine inspection in the Panama Canal on July 10
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MEXICO CITY, August 29 (Itar-Tass) - The attempt to transport weapons on a North Korean ship in the Panama Canal violates UN resolutions against Pyongyang, banning arms exports to North Korea and their imports from that country, the Ministry of Public Security of Panama reported on Wednesday, referring to the UN experts’ opinion on the results of an inspection of cargo found on North Korea’s ship in July.

“According to the first report prepared by the inspectors of the Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council, the transportation of Cuban arms by a North Korean ship undoubtedly runs counter to the relevant resolutions of the United Nations,” the Panamanian ministry said. It pointed out that the conclusions of the experts “confirm the correctness of the position” taken by the Panamanian authorities earlier.

The ministry officials specified that a delegation of experts from the UN, which was in Panama in mid-August examining the batch of arms, is within 60 days to submit two reports on the results of the work - a preliminary and final.

The North Korean ship had been stopped for a routine inspection in the Panama Canal on July 10. A few days after that Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli said that “weapons, including components of missile technology were found in containers under a large sugar batch.”

Soon after that, the country’s authorities reported that 12 engines for the MiG-21 fighter jets and two disassembled MiG-21bis fighters, as well as five military vehicles, which, experts believe, “are mobile units to monitor missile launches,” were found, in particular, on the North Korean ship. After that, Panama’s Prosecutor in charge of combating drug trafficking Javier Caraballo said that “ammunition and explosives” were allegedly found on the detained vessel.

In mid-July the Cuban authorities admitted that the North Korean ship carried “long outdated and worthless” military equipment, which was sent to North Korea for repairs and subsequent return to the island. However, the government of Panama sent a special request to the UN to conduct an inspection of the cargo by its experts.


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