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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

I had no Knowledge of Russian Weapons Ship - Syrian Ambassador

RIA Novosti

20:55 31/01/2012 MOSCOW, January 31 (RIA Novosti) - The Syrian Ambassador to Russia denied Western media reports that a Russian ship reportedly carrying weapons had docked in a Syrian port in an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

Riyad Mohammad Haddad said he “never heard anything” about the arrival of the Chariot, a vessel with “dangerous cargo” that according to Turkish media docked in Tartus in mid-January.

“Until now, I never heard anything on the issue that has just been raised but I can say that Russia and Syria have agreements about technical and military cooperation,” he said. “Those agreements have a long history and are not new… Russia honors all international agreements and they are not violated when Russia fulfills the obligations it had earlier undertaken.”

The cargo ship MV Chariot, flying the St. Vincent and Grenadines flag, was en route from St. Petersburg to the Syrian port of Latakia carrying from 35 to 60 tons of ammunition and explosives meant for the Syrian Defense Ministry, Cypriot media said.

The ship was forced to dock for refueling at the Cypriot port of Limassol on January 10 and Cypriot authorities boarded the ship for a document check. They also tried to examine the cargo but could not open four containers it was storing because of “confined space,” the Greek Cypriot Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

After about an hour, the ship was allowed to leave “after the captain decided to change its destination and not go to Syria,” Cypriot government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the ship was carrying “dangerous cargo” but did not elaborate. According to the documents, the cargo sender was the Russian state arms trader Rosoboronexport.

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