Israel thanks Cyprus for confiscating Iranian arms on way to Gaza
Peres meets with visiting Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kypriano.
By HERB KEINON
President Shimon Peres thanked visiting Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kypriano on Wednesday for confiscating Iranian arms that were believed to be headed to Gaza.
Peres, according to his office, said the confiscation of the ship's cargo was extremely important, and that fighting the arms smuggling to the Gaza Strip required this type of cooperation.
Last Wednesday, Cypriot authorities said the ship suspected of transporting the contraband cargo was free to go after the cargo was unloaded and stored at a Cypriot naval base.
Cypriot officials said that the cargo was "material that could be used to make munitions," and the Cypriot government said the ship had breached the UN ban on Iranian arms exports.
The US military said it found arms aboard the ship after stopping it last month in the Red Sea.
The issue also came up in talks Kypriano held with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
"Iran must be made aware that the weapon smuggling to Syria, Lebanon and Hamas constitutes a severe violation of international agreements, and must cease," Livni said. "The weapon smuggling organized by Iran is one of the central problems in the region. If the weapon smuggling to Gaza continues, Israel will have no other option than to initiate another defensive operation. That is why the international community must exhaust all the legal and operative means at its disposal to put an end to the arms smuggling."
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