Saturday, May 17, 2008

US State Dept denies Chinese Arms in Zim

Status of Chinese-Origin Arms Shipment to Zimbabwe (Taken Question)

Question: What information do we have about the Chinese-origin arms shipment destined for Zimbabwe that was allowed to dock in Angola after being turned away from South African ports? Do we think that the recent increase in violence in Zimbabwe is related to this arms shipment?

Answer: We understand that the Chinese-origin ship docked in Angola in May, and at that time Angola stated publicly its refusal to allow the unloading of arms that were destined for use by the Zimbabwean Defense Force. The ship has since departed. According to public statements made by a People’s Republic of China spokesperson, the arms shipment is returning to China without being delivered to Zimbabwe. As such, we are not aware of any relation between the arms shipment and the current violence in Zimbabwe, which is being orchestrated by the regime against members of the political opposition and civil society.

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