08/28/13 - Reuters - Panama says Cuban weapons shipment 'without doubt' violated UN sanctions
By Lomi Kriel
PANAMA CITY | Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:35pm EDT
Cuban weapons seized aboard a North Korean ship in Panamanian waters last
month are "without doubt" a violation of United Nations sanctions against
arms transfers to Pyongyang, Panama said Wednesday, citing a U.N. report.
Panamanian authorities say they were given a preliminary report presented
by a panel of experts to the Sanctions Committee at the U.N. Security
Council, according to a statement by Panama's Ministry of Security.
"According to the first report presented by the panel of experts from the
U.N. sanctions committee, the Cuban weapons found in the North Korean ship
'without doubt' violate the U.N. sanctions, which validates Panama's
position on how it acted," the ministry said, citing the report.
Panamanian investigators detained the Chong Chon Gang last month near the
Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal after receiving a tip it was carrying
drugs. Weapons were found under 10,000 tons of Cuban sugar.
The U.N. findings echo a similar report released Tuesday by a U.S. think
tank concluding the shipment not only breached U.N. sanctions, but was
likely meant for Pyongyang's use, and not destined for Havana as Cuban
A team of six U.N. Security Council experts has been in Panama
investigating whether the weapons violate a 7-year-old U.N. ban on arms
transfers to North Korea because of its nuclear weapons and missile
The panel of experts is an independent body tasked with reporting to the
U.N. Security Council and U.N. officials cannot comment on its ongoing
After the weapons were discovered, Cuba acknowledged it was sending 240
tons of "obsolete" Soviet-era weapons, including two MiG jets, 15 MiG
engines and nine anti-aircraft missiles, to be repaired in North Korea and
returned to Cuba.
Cuban officials told Panama the cargo was a donation of sugar for the
people of North Korea, according to a senior Panamanian official.
(Editing by David Adams and Stacey Joyce)
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