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April 22, 2008 

Vessel Carrying Chinese Arms for Zimbabwe Government Apparently Ordered to Return Home

The An Yue Jiang, a vessel carrying arms from China to land-locked Zimbabwe, has apparently been ordered to return to China after being denied entry into ports in Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania. The vessel was reportedly carrying three million rounds of AK-47 ammunition, 1,500 rocket-propelled grenades and more than 3,000 mortar rounds and mortar tubes destined for the Government of Zimbabwe.

In response to reports that China intends to fly the arms into Zimbabwe once the vessel returns to China, a State Department spokesman said today that:

In terms of the possibilities that it would be transported through other means, that is not something that I have heard. Certainly, though, the same thing applies: It’s not the method of transportation; it’s the fact that at this point in time, we don’t think it’s a good idea for anyone to be introducing additional weaponry into Zimbabwe, and certainly would hope that everyone that had contact with the Zimbabwean Government would encourage them to do the right thing in terms of releasing electoral results, honoring the will of the people, and being able to move forward with a transition to the results of that election.
For background and current information see Nowhere to Hide for Mugabe's Ship in the online edition of South Africa's The Times newspaper.

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