U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday he had permitted a ship carrying North Korean missiles to proceed on to Yemen with the weapons after Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Salih assured him it was the last such delivery.
Powell called North Korea "one of the great proliferators on the face of the earth," and said the United States had been trying to make the case worldwide that it posed dangers. "But at the same time we recognized it (the shipment) was going to a country we have good relations with," Powell said.
"We have no choice but to obey international law," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said. "What Yemen has done ... does not provide a threat to the United States. We do have ongoing concerns about North Korea's efforts to sell arms around the world." "Yemen is doing everything it can to help us on the war on terrorism," Fleischer said.
Earlier, Yemen's foreign minister, Abu Bakr Al Querbi met the US ambassador to Sana'a, Edmond Hull. During the meeting, the minister handed a protest letter to the U.S. government about the interception of the ship, Yemen news agency reported.
The letter confirmed that the cargo was part of contracts concluded with North Korea a few months ago. "The cargo belongs the Yemeni government and its armed forces for defense purposes, and it will not reach a third party," the letter reads.
The Yemeni government noted that "Yemen has no hostile intentions against any one, and its possession of these weapons will not cause harm to the international peace and security." The Yemeni foreign minister handed a similar letter to the Spanish government protesting over the interception of the weapons cargo. (Albawaba.com)
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