Egypt’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid – File Photo Egypt’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid – File Photo

Egypt denies N.Korea arms bound for its military, Abu Zeid

Tue, Oct. 3, 2017
CAIRO – 3 October 2017: The Egyptian government denied on Monday that a shipment of weapons from North Korea was destined for its military, as reported in The Washington Post. 

In a statement sent to AFP, spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid "categorically denied what the [Washington Post] report mentioned regarding Egypt being the destination for the shipment. 

"The sanctions committee report did not indicate that the shipment was destined for Egypt," he added, referring to a UN report mentioned in The Washington Post story. 

The US newspaper reported Sunday that the Egyptian military was the undisclosed buyer of $23 million worth of rocket-propelled grenades from North Korea.

The United States had warned Egypt in August 2016 that a North Korean vessel named Jie Shun, under the Cambodian flag, was headed toward the Suez Canal. 

The ship, The Washington Post reported, was run by a North Korean crew and had "an unknown cargo shrouded by heavy tarps." 

When it reached the Suez Canal, customs agents boarded the ship and found more than 24,000 North Korean rocket-propelled grenades, the newspaper reported. 

"The shipment that was confiscated was not destined for Egypt," said Abu Zeid.

Egyptian authorities indeed intercepted a ship flying the Cambodian flag before it entered the southern entrance of the Suez Canal, following information that it was carrying anti-tank rockets from North Korea in violation of the UN Security Council sanctions. 

"Egyptian authorities indeed confiscated the shipment and destroyed it in the presence of a team of experts from the 1718 committee overseeing the UNSC sanctions on North Korea," said the foreign ministry spokesman. 

Abu Zeid added that "the head of the UNSC North Korea sanctions committee has lauded Egypt's efforts."
 
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