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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

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Cypriot Official: Ship Violates Iran Sanctions

By VOA News
07 February 2009

A top official in Cyprus says a United Nations panel has found that a ship intercepted recently in the Red Sea was in breach of U.N. sanctions on Iran.

Cyprus had submitted a report to the U.N. Security Council concerning the Cypriot-flagged vessel Monchegorsk, which was suspected of carrying arms from Iran to the Gaza Strip.

The ship has been docked at Limassol, a Cypriot port, since it was detained late last month. Cypriot authorities have twice inspected the vessel.

The Cypriot official says Cyprus must now decide what to do with the ship's cargo.

Iran is barred by the United Nations from exporting weapons.

Meanwhile, a delegation from the Palestinian militant group Hamas is in Egypt for talks on a long-term cease-fire with Israel over the Gaza Strip.

The delegation includes a top Hamas leader in Gaza, Mahmud Zahar, and other senior officials from the militant group.

It is the first time Zahar has appeared in public since Israel launched its offensive against Hamas late last year.

Egypt has been trying to mediate a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas, which have been observing an unwritten ceasefire since the end of last month. There have been sporadic attacks by both sides since then.

Separately, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas discussed the creation of a Palestinian state in talks Saturday with Turkey's President Abdullah Gul in Ankara.

The Palestinian president has been in Turkey since Friday, when he met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mr. Abbas's Palestinian Authority controls the West Bank.

Israel waged a three-week offensive in Gaza to try to put an end to rocket attacks on its territory. The fighting killed more than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis before ending last month.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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