Cyprus says investigating Sudan's claims concerning detained cargo ship

14:41, June 25, 2010      

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Cyprus said on Thursday it is investigating very closely claims by Sudan that a ship detained by Cyprus authorities is only carrying explosives for a mining company and not military material.

The island's Commerce Minister Antonis Paschalides said the government is acting on the issue according to existing legislation and in a very responsible manner.

He was commenting on a statement by Sudan's Mining Minister Abdel Baqi al-Jailani that the detained ship's cargo has nothing to do with the military and it is only carrying explosives ordered by the Ariab Mining Company.

Cypriot authorities have said that "Santiago", an Antigua and Barbuda flagged vessel, has a cargo of explosives and military equipment, including tanks or armored vehicles.

"This is a very serious and complicated issue and there is a lot of paper work to be done,"Paschalides said.

"We have to investigate all claims,"he added.

The ship was prevented from leaving Cyprus waters on June 11, when it requested permission to enter Limassol port for refueling.

Cypriot security authorities said they are investigating whether its cargo contravenes a European Union and United Nations arms embargo on Sudan.

A state-run Cypriot television channel reported that lawyers acting on behalf of interested parties have submitted several documents to the Commerce Ministry to back their claims.

Source: Xinhua


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