September 28, 2010 / 10:45 AM / 10 years ago

Greece searches ship for North Korean arms - source

ATHENS, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Greek authorities were searching on Tuesday a cargo ship suspected of carrying weapons from North Korea to Syria, officials told Reuters.

The U.N. Security Council agreed in June last year a ban on the export of all weapons by North Korea. The expanded sanctions were aimed at cutting off its arms sales, a vital export estimated to earn it more than $1 billion a year.

“It’s a French-owned, German-flagged ship with cargo from North Korea, probably sailing to Syria. We have opened four containers so far and have found non-military material that could have a dual use,” a senior government official told Reuters, adding that the search was continuing.

An official close to the operation said the Greek authorities had acted on a tip-off that the ship was carrying missiles and weapons. The official, who also declined to be named, confirmed that so far they had found neither.

North Korea’s biggest weapons sales come from ballistic missiles, with Iran and other Middle Eastern states as customers, according to U.S. government officials.

Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Writing by Ingrid Melander; editing by Ralph Boulton

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