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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Cyprus releases arms ship bound for Syria

Remember that arms ship that was bound for Syria that was seized by Cyprus on an Interpol tip? Remember how we confirmed that the ship was an arms ship and was not carrying meteorological equipment like its manifest said? Remember that its real cargo was mobile radar systems that could be mounted on trucks and used for air defense? Well, very quietly, the Cypriots released the cargo and allowed the ship to continue on to Syria yesterday:
The Republic of Cyprus has ended a three-week deadlock and released a shipment of surface-to-air missile radar systems to Syria.

Officials said the Nicosia government decided to enable a Panamian-flagged ship to resume its journey and deliver North Korean air defense systems to Syria. The North Korean shipment was intercepted on Sept. 5 in wake of an alert by Interpol.

"The Syrians did what we asked them and then the ship was released," an official said. "There was a discrepancy on the ship's manifest, but the contents were not illegal."

Officials said the Gregorio-1 ship episode was resolved in talks with Damascus over the last two weeks. During a Sept. 15 visit, they said, a Syrian delegation applied for and received an export permit for the unidentified SAMs.
So it was just a matter of paperwork? Hard to believe....


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