Saturday, August 24, 2013

UN experts expect to travel to Havana to clarify North Korean ship issue

Posted on Friday, 08.23.13

UN experts expect to travel to Havana to clarify North Korean ship issue

UNITED NATIONS -- United Nations experts who inspected the North Korean
boat that was detained by Panamanian authorities for carrying undeclared
Cuban weapons submitted a preliminary confidential report to the
Security Council Friday and are awaiting an invitation from Cuba to
visit the island.

The experts hope Cuba will not take long to give a response since Panama
is dependent on a U.N. decision before taking any action on the future
of the boat and its crew of 35 who are under Panamanian custody.

The experts returned Aug. 16 from Panama, where they inspected the boat
for three days and spoke to the crew.

After inspecting the boat, the next step would be to ask Cuba a series
of questions about the case — hopefully in person in Havana — before
issuing a final report on North Korea's possible violation of the U.N.'s
arms embargo.

The report would include conclusions and possible recommendations to the
U.N. sanctions-monitoring committee that oversees sanctions against
North Korea. All 15 members of the Security Council are part of this

The first report that circulated Friday among council members is a brief
document entitled Travel Report. It basically covers facts gathered
during the trip and adding some details about the case. The second
report, however, will be a longer and deeper document that would include
conclusions and possible recommendations.

The sanctions-monitoring committee would be the entity that would
decide, based on the report, which actions to take. The decisions must
reach consensus. The opposition of one of its members would block any

Sources consulted that have followed the case closely say that the
committee, after receiving the report and analyzing it, could close the
case with a warning to Cuba to avoid the incident from happening again
in the future.

Also, among other options, it could apply sanctions against entities and
persons involved in the incident.

Since 2006, U.N. has issued resolutions imposing several sanctions
against North Korea for testing nuclear missiles. Among these sanctions
is the prohibition of importing or exporting weapons.

The North Korean boat, Chong Chon Gang, has been under Panamanian
custody since July 10, after authorities suspected it was carrying
drugs. Instead, they found weapons hidden under tons of sugar.

After the boat's detention was officially announced, the Cuban
government said that the it contained 10,000 tons of sugar together with
obsolete Soviet weapons being sent to North Korea to be repaired and
later returned to Cuba.

Source: "UNITED NATIONS: UN experts expect to travel to Havana to
clarify North Korean ship issue - Cuba -" -

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