Cuba Ignoring Panama, U.N. Requests for Info on N. Korea Arms Shipment

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Oct. 18, 2013, 10:02 a.m.

Cuba is not re­spond­ing to re­quests from Panama and the U. N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil for more de­tails about an arms ship­ment that was in­ter­dicted on its way to North Korea, which Havana ori­gin­ally claimed was to have been re­turned after the weapons were re­paired, Re­u­ters re­por­ted on Fri­day.

Panamani­an For­eign Min­is­ter Fernando Nun­ez Fab­rega said there has been no com­mu­nic­a­tion between Havana and Panama City since an in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to the weapons, dis­covered in Ju­ly on the Chong Chon Gang North Korean freight­er, re­vealed they were “ob­vi­ously not ob­sol­ete” — as the Cuban gov­ern­ment ori­gin­ally claimed.

Cuba called off a planned Septem­ber meet­ing with Panama at the United Na­tions and has ig­nored all oth­er Panamani­an re­quests for con­tact.

“It was like talk­ing to a brick wall,” Nun­ez Fab­rega said in an in­ter­view.

The Se­cur­ity Coun­cil sub­com­mit­tee with over­sight on North Korean sanc­tions also has been un­suc­cess­ful in its re­quests for in­form­a­tion from Cuba about the in­ter­dicted ship­ment of 25 con­tain­ers of un­declared weapons, ac­cord­ing to Re­u­ters. U.N. sanc­tions ex­perts already have in­spec­ted the arms and are pre­par­ing an of­fi­cial re­port on the mat­ter.

Se­cur­ity Coun­cil sanc­tions for­bid all U.N. mem­ber states from en­ga­ging in any weapons deal­ings with Py­ongy­ang.

An ana­lys­is by in­de­pend­ent ex­perts has con­cluded the arms ship­ment was much great­er in size than Havana ori­gin­ally ad­mit­ted and that a num­ber of the arma­ments were in “mint con­di­tion.” The re­port states the weapons — in­clud­ing two So­viet-era MiG fight­er jets, anti-air­craft mis­siles and anti-tank guns — were meant for North Korea’s mil­it­ary.

“Of the 15 [dis­covered] jet en­gines, 10 were in im­macu­late con­di­tion,” Nun­ez Fab­rega said.

Panama has de­cided to soon al­low al­most all of the 35-mem­ber North Korean ship crew to go free, as they ap­pear to have been un­aware they were trans­port­ing weapons, the min­is­ter said. The freight­er’s cap­tain and his first mate could face pro­sec­u­tion.

The Chong Chon Gang also will likely be re­leased to its own­er, he said.

What We're Following See More »
USA Today Weighs in on Presidential Race for First Time Ever
5 hours ago

"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."

FCC Pushes Vote on Set-Top Boxes
5 hours ago

"Federal regulators on Thursday delayed a vote on a proposal to reshape the television market by freeing consumers from cable box rentals, putting into doubt a plan that has pitted technology companies against cable television providers. ... The proposal will still be considered for a future vote. But Tom Wheeler, chairman of the F.C.C., said commissioners needed more discussions."

Obama Signs Bill to Fund Government
11 hours ago
SCOTUS to Hear Case on Offensive Trademarks
11 hours ago

"The Supreme Court is taking up a First Amendment clash over the government’s refusal to register offensive trademarks, a case that could affect the Washington Redskins in their legal fight over the team name. The justices agreed Thursday to hear a dispute involving an Asian-American rock band called the Slants, but they did not act on a separate request to hear the higher-profile Redskins case at the same time." Still, any precedent set by the case could have ramifications for the Washington football team.

Reliable Poll Data Coming in RE: Debate #1
13 hours ago