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Polish arms shipment held pending completion of documents: Foreign ministry spokesman

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The shipment was stopped on its way to Egypt by German customs

The German decision to hold a Polish arms shipment on its way to Egypt on Friday is not related to the European Union’s decision to suspend arms exports to Egypt, said foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty on Sunday.

The arms shipment is made up of two containers carrying spare parts of weapons, Abdelatty said, adding that the shipment has been held pending the completion of documents.

German news service Der Spiegel had reported that the Polish shipment was stopped in Hamburg, Germany by the customs authority in an article titled “sanctions against the military regime”.  The German news service claimed that Egypt is pressing for the release of the shipment.

Der Spiegel suggested that the shipment falls under the European Union’s embargo on weapon exports to Egypt because it contains superstructures for armoured vehicles, which German authorities believe fall under the decision. The shipment also contains technology for the Egyptian navy, the German news service reported.

On 21 August, within days of the deadly dispersal of sit-ins held to demonstrate support for ousted President Mohamed Morsi, the European Union Foreign Affairs Council decided to revoke all export licenses for any equipment that could be “used for internal repression” in Egypt.

The United Kingdom has also suspended export arms licences to Egypt following the ouster of Morsi, and restored 24 licenses in November but kept 7 revoked.

Washington also decided in October to suspend the delivery of military aid to Egypt pending the election of a civilian government. The United States said the decision comes as part of “recalibrating” US aid to Egypt.


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