Cyprus: UN Would Not Authorize Disposal of Munitions that Caused Blast

Posted July 12th, 2011 at 12:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Cyprus says it tried to get rid of the containers of confiscated munitions that exploded Monday, killing 12 people, including the Cypriot naval commander. But spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said the Cypriot government received no reply from the U.N. Security Council, whose authorization he said was needed to transport the containers off the Mediterranean island.

The government of President Dimitris Christofias is under mounting criticism for the explosion that also destroyed the island's largest power facility. Rolling, two-hour power cuts are in effect and officials say it will take six months to repair the power station that provides for more than half the island's power demands.

Cyprus newspapers are accusing authorities of criminal negligence. Spokesman Stefanou acknowledged previous warnings from officers to their superiors about the explosives, which were seized as part of international sanctions against Iran. But he said the president had not been briefed on any dangers relating to the explosives.

Stefanou said Greek and French experts would join Cyprus in an investigation that he said will assign responsibility where it is due.