Cypriot President Rejects Blame for Deadly Munitions Blast

Posted October 3rd, 2011 at 9:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Cyprus President Demitris Christofias is rejecting an official report that he is personally responsible for the July 11th munitions blast at a military base, killing 13 people.

The report released Monday says the stored gunpowder and other explosives were a time bomb waiting to go off. It says Mr. Christofias was aware that the munitions were not being stored safely and that he failed to take proper measures.

Mr. Christofias said the report's conclusion is not supported by the evidence, and he will not resign. He said no one told him just how dangerous the situation was.

Cyprus seized the munitions from a ship headed from Iran to Syria in 2009. It kept the weapons at a military base while Cypriot officials tried to convince the United Nations to get them.

Some Cypriots say the stuff was held in flimsy containers during storms and intense summer heat until it exploded in July, killing 13 people.

The blast also seriously damaged a power plant, knocking out electricity to much of the island. Officials say it will take at least a year to fix the damage.