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Panama finds MiG fighter jets on North Korean arms ship

A soldier stands near two containers holding arms seized from the North Korean flagged ship "Chong Chon Gang" at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 17, 2013. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon praised Panama on Wednesday for seizin
A soldier stands near two containers holding arms seized from the North Korean flagged ship "Chong Chon Gang" at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 17, 2013. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon praised Panama on Wednesday for seizing a North Korean ship carrying arms from Cuba, adding that the UN sanctions committee would take up the issue promptly. Cuba said the weapons were being sent back to North Korea for repair and included two anti-aircraft missile batteries, nine disassembled rockets, two MiG-21 fighter jets, and 15 MiG-21 engines, all Soviet-era military weaponry built in the middle of the last century. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Panama forensic workers work in a container holding a green missile-shaped object seized from the North Korean flagged ship "Chong Chon Gang" at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 17, 2013. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon praise
Panama forensic workers work in a container holding a green missile-shaped object seized from the North Korean flagged ship "Chong Chon Gang" at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 17, 2013. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon praised Panama on Wednesday for seizing a North Korean ship carrying arms from Cuba, adding that the UN sanctions committee would take up the issue promptly. Cuba said the weapons were being sent back to North Korea for repair and included two anti-aircraft missile batteries, nine disassembled rockets, two MiG-21 fighter jets, and 15 MiG-21 engines, all Soviet-era military weaponry built in the middle of the last century. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A Panama forensic worker works in a container holding a green missile-shaped object seized from the North Korean flagged ship "Chong Chon Gang" at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 17, 2013. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon prai
A Panama forensic worker works in a container holding a green missile-shaped object seized from the North Korean flagged ship "Chong Chon Gang" at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 17, 2013. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon praised Panama on Wednesday for seizing a North Korean ship carrying arms from Cuba, adding that the UN sanctions committee would take up the issue promptly. Cuba said the weapons were being sent back to North Korea for repair and included two anti-aircraft missile batteries, nine disassembled rockets, two MiG-21 fighter jets, and 15 MiG-21 engines, all Soviet-era military weaponry built in the middle of the last century. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Panama forensic workers work in a container holding a missile-shaped object seized from the North Korean flagged ship "Chong Chon Gang" at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 17, 2013. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised Pana
Panama forensic workers work in a container holding a missile-shaped object seized from the North Korean flagged ship "Chong Chon Gang" at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 17, 2013. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised Panama on Wednesday for seizing a North Korean ship carrying arms from Cuba, adding that the UN sanctions committee would take up the issue promptly. Cuba said the weapons were being sent back to North Korea for repair and included two anti-aircraft missile batteries, nine disassembled rockets, two MiG-21 fighter jets, and 15 MiG-21 engines, all Soviet-era military weaponry built in the middle of the last century. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Panama forensic workers work in a container holding a green missile-shaped object seized from the North Korean flagged ship "Chong Chon Gang" at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 17, 2013. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon praise
Panama forensic workers work in a container holding a green missile-shaped object seized from the North Korean flagged ship "Chong Chon Gang" at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 17, 2013. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon praised Panama on Wednesday for seizing a North Korean ship carrying arms from Cuba, adding that the UN sanctions committee would take up the issue promptly. Cuba said the weapons were being sent back to North Korea for repair and included two anti-aircraft missile batteries, nine disassembled rockets, two MiG-21 fighter jets, and 15 MiG-21 engines, all Soviet-era military weaponry built in the middle of the last century. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Soldiers stand guard near containers holding arms seized from the North Korean flagged ship "Chong Chon Gang" at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 17, 2013. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon praised Panama on Wednesday for seizin
Soldiers stand guard near containers holding arms seized from the North Korean flagged ship "Chong Chon Gang" at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 17, 2013. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon praised Panama on Wednesday for seizing a North Korean ship carrying arms from Cuba, adding that the UN sanctions committee would take up the issue promptly. Cuba said the weapons were being sent back to North Korea for repair and included two anti-aircraft missile batteries, nine disassembled rockets, two MiG-21 fighter jets, and 15 MiG-21 engines, all Soviet-era military weaponry built in the middle of the last century. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A close up shows a missile-shaped object as forensic workers (background) work inside a container holding arms seized from the North Korean flagged ship "Chong Chon Gang" at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 17, 2013. UN Secreta
A close up shows a missile-shaped object as forensic workers (background) work inside a container holding arms seized from the North Korean flagged ship "Chong Chon Gang" at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon City on July 17, 2013. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon praised Panama on Wednesday for seizing a North Korean ship carrying arms from Cuba, adding that the UN sanctions committee would take up the issue promptly. Cuba said the weapons were being sent back to North Korea for repair and included two anti-aircraft missile batteries, nine disassembled rockets, two MiG-21 fighter jets, and 15 MiG-21 engines, all Soviet-era military weaponry built in the middle of the last century. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A taxi drives beside a MiG-21 fighter plane at a site displaying other Soviet-made Cold War relics at La Cabana fortress in Havana in this Oct 13, 2012 file photo. Panama said on July 17, 2013 it had called in the United Nations Security Council to i
A taxi drives beside a MiG-21 fighter plane at a site displaying other Soviet-made Cold War relics at La Cabana fortress in Havana in this Oct 13, 2012 file photo. Panama said on July 17, 2013 it had called in the United Nations Security Council to investigate a North Korean ship caught smuggling arms from Cuba, piling more pressure on Pyongyang over a possible breach of UN sanctions. Panama stopped the ship last week and seized the cargo after a stand-off with the North Korean crew in which the captain tried to slit his own throat. Authorities discovered missile equipment, MiG fighter jets and other arms aboard that Cuba said were "obsolete" Soviet-era weapons being sent to North Korea for repair. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Panamaian forensic workers close a container holding a MiG-21 fighter jet seized from the North Korean-flagged ship Chong Chon Gang, during investigations at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon city on July 21, 2013. Panamanian investigators u
Panamaian forensic workers close a container holding a MiG-21 fighter jet seized from the North Korean-flagged ship Chong Chon Gang, during investigations at the Manzanillo Container Terminal in Colon city on July 21, 2013. Panamanian investigators unloading the cargo of the seized North Korean ship that carried arms from Cuba have found the two MiG-21 fighter jets the Cuban government had said were on board, the government said on Sunday. Panamanian authorities stopped the ship last week as it headed into the Panama Canal, and arrested the crew after finding undeclared missile equipment, disassembled rockets, MiG fighter jets and other arms aboard that Cuba said were being sent back to North Korea for repair. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
View of a container with the MIG-21 jets found inside the North Korean Chong Chon Gang vessel where an alleged Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles was found, at the Manzanillo Port in Colon, 90km from Panama City, on July 21
View of a container with the MIG-21 jets found inside the North Korean Chong Chon Gang vessel where an alleged Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles was found, at the Manzanillo Port in Colon, 90km from Panama City, on July 21, 2013. UN sanctions experts will go to Panama soon to investigate a North Korean ship that was intercepted carrying weapons, a US diplomat said on Thursday. The vessel set out from Cuba and was trying to enter the Panama Canal when it was stopped by an anti-narcotics patrol, which later found the weapons concealed beneath several tonnes of sugar. -- PHOTO: AFP
Workers remain by a container with the MIG-21 jets found inside the North Korean Chong Chon Gang vessel where an alleged Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles was found, at the Manzanillo Port in Colon, 90km from Panama City,
Workers remain by a container with the MIG-21 jets found inside the North Korean Chong Chon Gang vessel where an alleged Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles was found, at the Manzanillo Port in Colon, 90km from Panama City, on July 21, 2013. UN sanctions experts will go to Panama soon to investigate a North Korean ship that was intercepted carrying weapons, a US diplomat said on Thursday. The vessel set out from Cuba and was trying to enter the Panama Canal when it was stopped by an anti-narcotics patrol, which later found the weapons concealed beneath several tonnes of sugar. -- PHOTO: AFP
View of three containes with the MIG-21 jets found inside the North Korean Chong Chon Gang vessel where an alleged Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles was found, at the Manzanillo Port in Colon, 90km from Panama City, on Jul
View of three containes with the MIG-21 jets found inside the North Korean Chong Chon Gang vessel where an alleged Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles was found, at the Manzanillo Port in Colon, 90km from Panama City, on July 21, 2013. UN sanctions experts will go to Panama soon to investigate a North Korean ship that was intercepted carrying weapons, a US diplomat said on Thursday. The vessel set out from Cuba and was trying to enter the Panama Canal when it was stopped by an anti-narcotics patrol, which later found the weapons concealed beneath several tonnes of sugar. -- PHOTO: AFP
A man works in a container with the MIG-21 jets found inside the North Korean Chong Chon Gang vessel where an alleged Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles was found, at the Manzanillo Port in Colon, 90km from Panama City, on
A man works in a container with the MIG-21 jets found inside the North Korean Chong Chon Gang vessel where an alleged Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles was found, at the Manzanillo Port in Colon, 90km from Panama City, on July 21, 2013. UN sanctions experts will go to Panama soon to investigate a North Korean ship that was intercepted carrying weapons, a US diplomat said on Thursday. The vessel set out from Cuba and was trying to enter the Panama Canal when it was stopped by an anti-narcotics patrol, which later found the weapons concealed beneath several tonnes of sugar. -- PHOTO: AFP
Men work in a container with the MIG-21 jets found inside the North Korean Chong Chon Gang vessel where an alleged Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles was found, at the Manzanillo Port in Colon, 90 km from Panama City, on Ju
Men work in a container with the MIG-21 jets found inside the North Korean Chong Chon Gang vessel where an alleged Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles was found, at the Manzanillo Port in Colon, 90 km from Panama City, on July 21, 2013. UN sanctions experts will go to Panama soon to investigate a North Korean ship that was intercepted carrying weapons, a US diplomat said on Thursday. The vessel set out from Cuba and was trying to enter the Panama Canal when it was stopped by an anti-narcotics patrol, which later found the weapons concealed beneath several tonnes of sugar. -- PHOTO: AFP
Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli (left) gesture next to a container with the MIG-21 jets found inside the North Korean Chong Chon Gang vessel where an alleged Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles was found, at the Manz
Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli (left) gesture next to a container with the MIG-21 jets found inside the North Korean Chong Chon Gang vessel where an alleged Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles was found, at the Manzanillo Port in Colon, 90km from Panama City, on July 21, 2013. UN sanctions experts will go to Panama soon to investigate a North Korean ship that was intercepted carrying weapons, a US diplomat said on Thursday. The vessel set out from Cuba and was trying to enter the Panama Canal when it was stopped by an anti-narcotics patrol, which later found the weapons concealed beneath several tonnes of sugar. -- PHOTO: AFP
Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli (right) takes a picture of a container with the MIG-21 jets found inside the North Korean Chong Chon Gang vessel where an alleged Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles was found, at the
Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli (right) takes a picture of a container with the MIG-21 jets found inside the North Korean Chong Chon Gang vessel where an alleged Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles was found, at the Manzanillo Port in Colon, 90km from Panama City, on July 21, 2013. UN sanctions experts will go to Panama soon to investigate a North Korean ship that was intercepted carrying weapons, a US diplomat said on Thursday. The vessel set out from Cuba and was trying to enter the Panama Canal when it was stopped by an anti-narcotics patrol, which later found the weapons concealed beneath several tonnes of sugar. -- PHOTO: AFP
A man works in a container with the MIG-21 jets found inside the North Korean Chong Chon Gang vessel where an alleged Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles was found, at the Manzanillo Port in Colon, 90km from Panama City, on
A man works in a container with the MIG-21 jets found inside the North Korean Chong Chon Gang vessel where an alleged Soviet-built radar control system for surface-to-air missiles was found, at the Manzanillo Port in Colon, 90km from Panama City, on July 21, 2013. UN sanctions experts will go to Panama soon to investigate a North Korean ship that was intercepted carrying weapons, a US diplomat said Thursday. The vessel set out from Cuba and was trying to enter the Panama Canal when it was stopped by an anti-narcotics patrol, which later found the weapons concealed beneath several tonnes of sugar. -- PHOTO: AFP

COLON, Panama (REUTERS) - Panamanian investigators unloading the cargo of a seized North Korean ship that carried arms from Cuba have found the two MiG-21 fighter jets the Cuban government had said were on board, the government said on Sunday.

Alongside the two supersonic planes, originally produced by the Soviet Union in the late 1950s, officials found two missile radar systems on board the Chong Chon Gang, President Ricardo Martinelli told reporters in the Atlantic port of Colon.

The discovery, which included cables and electrical equipment, was made inside containers on the ship Panama had feared might contain explosive material. None was found.

After stopping the vessel bound for North Korea last week, Panama revealed it had found weapons in the cargo hold late on Monday. In response, Cuba said the shipment contained a range of "obsolete" arms being sent to North Korea for repair.

Panama has asked the UN Security Council to investigate the ship and its contents amid suspicion that the vessel is in breach of a wide-ranging arms embargo on North Korea for its nuclear and ballistic missile programme.

"One can't take undeclared weapons through the Panama Canal below other cargo," Mr Martinelli said, adding that he had not spoken personally to any Cuban officials since they first asked for the ship to be released last Saturday.

Mr Javier Caraballo, Panama's top anti-drugs prosecutor, said the planes gave off a strong odour of gasoline, indicating that they had likely been used recently. So far, Panama has not found anything not on the Cubans' list of ordnance, he added.

The UN team is expected to arrive in early August once Panama has finished unloading the 155-metre ship.

The weapons were hidden under thousands of sacks of sugar on the freighter. Before the arms were discovered, Cuba told Panama the cargo was a donation of sugar for the people of North Korea.

The isolated Asian nation has asked Panama to release the ship and its 35 member crew, who were arrested and charged with attempting to smuggle undeclared weapons through the canal.

Panama has so far dismissed North Korea's requests.