U.N. reviews Cuban weapons shipment

A U.N. Security Council committee has started to consider the case of a Cuban weapons shipment bound for North Korea and intercepted in Panama, but will need more time to reach a conclusion, according to the panel’s chairman.

“On Chong Chon Gang, we continue our discussions,” said Sylvie Lucas, Luxembourg’s ambassador to the United Nations and chair of the Security Council committee that supervises the arms embargo on North Korea.

Lucas told reporters after a committee meeting Monday that member states had started to consider the case as part of their review of the annual report by its panel of experts, submitted to the committee on Feb. 7.

The report includes a large section on the Chong Chon Gang, a North Korean freighter seized by Panama in July after it was found to be carrying 240 tons of Cuban weapons, undeclared and hidden under 10,000 tons of sugar.

The meeting Monday first considered the annual report then took up the case of the Chong Chon Gang individually, Lucas said, according to a recording of her comments provided to El Nuevo Herald.

“All members of the [Security] Council are very much aware, in that we have to give a follow-up . . to this whole incident as such, and so I think we are quite well engaged in this respect and we'll continue working on it,” she said.

Asked whether her committee would be updating its list of persons or entities “designated” as violators of the arms embargo and subject to banking and travel sanctions, Lucas said that there were proposals for some changes, but she provided few details.

“There are one or two proposals on the table, perhaps additional aliases on some of the entities, and so on,” she said. “There is more really of trying to have the right addresses, the right coordinates, or another alias.”

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