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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Sunday, December 17, 2017

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North Korea sent a secret gift to Egypt, but UN found out

Egypt ordered 30,000 weapons from North Korea.

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WASHINGTON, U.S. - In an investigation led by the United Nations, it was discovered that North Korea and Egypt had struck a secret weapons deal worth $23 million.

The UN investigators revealed that Egypt had ordered 30,000 weapons from North Korea.

UN officials and Western diplomats revealed that as part of the deal, Egyptian business executives ordered millions of dollars worth of rockets from North Korea for their country's military.

According to reports, business executives planned to keep the transaction hidden.

However, after a secret message was sent from Washington D.C. to Cairo in August, an investigation was prompted.

The secret message contained a warning of a vessel headed toward the Suez Canal. 

The ship was reportedly flying Cambodian colors but had left from North Korea and was carrying a North Korean crew. 

The investigation also found that its cargo was hidden by large, heavy tarps.

They noted that once the ship entered Egyptian waters, customs agents boarded and discovered a stockpile of more than 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades concealed underneath bins of iron ore. 

In a statement quoted in the Washington Post, the UN said it was the "largest seizure of ammunition in the history of sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.”

With Egypt already facing tough economic sanctions from the UN following its testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles - this incident comes as the latest in Egypt's sanctions-defying acts and serves as a critical financial lifeline to North Korea.

The investigation, however, did not manage to find if North Korea was ever paid the $23 million for the weapons. 

In a statement, the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, D.C., said Egypt will "continue to abide by all Security Council resolutions and will always be in conformity with these resolutions as they restrain military purchases from North Korea.”

Current and former U.S. officials and diplomats familiar with the events said that after U.S. intelligence agencies saw the vessel and informed Egyptian authorities, the deal was interrupted. 

 

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