Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe on Thursday claimed that a North Korean ship, intercepted in Panama with an shipment of contraband weapons, was on its way to Ecuador and his country.
On his Twitter account, Uribe said that he had received information the ship was heading to Colombia and Ecuador.
Información que llega”…55el barco cargado con armas y misiles. Recordará que nosotros le dimos a usted una (cont) http://t.co/FjIv5J3ft8
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) July 18, 2013
“You will remember we gave you related information. I already tell you the ship was not going to North Korea. This ship was headed to Ecuador and part of the arms to your country,” Uribe quoted an undisclosed source as saying.
The former president neglected to provide evidence supporting his claim.
The ship referred to by Uribe is a private vessel sailing under North Korea’s flag that was intercepted in Panama last week after returning from Cuba. Panamanian authorities on Tuesday announced the discovered arms cache.
“According to its declaration, the ship only carried 10,000 tons sugar, it never declared war material and that in itself is a violation of the rules and a grave danger for the transit through the Panama canal,” Panamanian prosecutor Javier Caraballo was quoted as saying by the BBC.
According to North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, “this cargo is nothing but ageing weapons which are to be sent back to Cuba after overhauling them according to a legitimate contract.”
Cuba earlier had said the weapons were Soviet-era arms from the Caribbean island headed for repair in North Korea.
Panama asked the United Nations Security Council to investigate whether the illegal arms shipment is a violation of sanction against North Korea that were imposed over international concerns regarding the Asian country’s nuclear weapons program.
- Panama charges North Korea weapons ship’s crew (BBC News)
- Vinculan a Colombia y Ecuador con barco norcoreano (Univision)
- The bizarre story of a North Korean ship detained in the Panama Canal (Washington Post)