U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, initiated a bipartisan House Foreign Affairs Committee letter to Secretary Kerry regarding the detention of a North Korean-flagged vessel by Panamanian authorities that was found to be carrying military equipment en route to North Korea from Cuba.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"Earlier this morning I spoke with President Ricardo Martinelli and I also met with Ambassador Mario Jaramillo of Panama. I expressed my sincere appreciation for the wonderful work the Panamanian law enforcement authorities did to ensure the North Korean-flagged vessel, en route to North Korea from Cuba and laden with military equipment, did not make its way through the Panama Canal. Not only are these illicit activities likely in violation of several United Nations Security Council resolutions, but they demonstrate the need for the United States to be more cognizant of the threats posed by these two rogue regimes to our national security in our own Hemisphere. I urge Secretary Kerry to instruct our U.S. Mission to the UN to immediately call for UN inspectors to go to Panama and investigate this matter, and for the Administration to impose stronger U.S. sanctions on all entities involved."