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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Final checks on Monchegorsk cargo to determine its fate ]

Final checks on Monchegorsk cargo to determine its fate

CONTINUED and detailed checks to the cargo of Monchegorsk, the Cypriot-flagged ship carrying arms from Iran, are underway to ensure the exact content of its containers, before a final decision is made on how to dispose it.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Markos Kyprianou yesterday confirmed that many scenarios were under discussion, including sending the cargo to be stored in a ‘friendly’ country.

“We must first complete the search to the ship’s containers to determine its exact cargo. It all depends on the ship’s cargo. We must make sure there are no hidden surprises by carrying out a detailed search,” Kyprianou said.

Following the opinion of the UN Sanctions Committee that the ship’s cargo constituted a breach of the relevant UN resolutions imposing an arms embargo on Iran, Cyprus is faced with two choices: either disposing of the cargo in Cyprus, or sending it to be stored in a third country.

Technical impediments and the lack of a safe storage space in Cyprus make the option of keeping the cargo more difficult, an option which is further complicated by Israel’s insistence that the cargo must be destroyed and not stored.

A number of countries have expressed interest in storing the arms but Kyprianou confirmed that Syria, Iran and Russia were not among these countries.

“If we choose to send the cargo to another country, discussions will take place with that country to ensure it is in a position to accept it. Many countries have expressed interest, but Russia is not among them,” he said.

The UK yesterday expressed its sympathy and support to Cyprus, as well as its willingness to help as soon as the exact content of the ship’s cargo was determined. Caroline Flint, the Minister for Europe at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, yesterday met Kyprianou to discuss the issue.

“I understand that the Cypriot authorities are examining the situation, and the specifications of the arms and I believe that as soon as we have a better report on this, the UK –and I am certain other countries- will want to help in any way we can to ensure the cargo is effectively disposed,” Flint said.

Meanwhile, Kyprianou clarified that Cyprus was not concerned with who owns the ship, following statements by the Russian embassy that Monchegorsk is not of Russian-owned, as was widely reported.

“The identity of the final shareholder does not concern us. It maybe a multinational, or there may be Russian shareholders. What interests us is that it is under the Cypriot flag. That is Cyprus’ involvement and responsibility because, unfortunately, UN resolutions place exclusive responsibility on the flag country,” he explained.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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